LANSING (WWJ/AP) -A recall petition effort to oust Republican Governor Rick Snyder has cleared a hurdle, and can begin collecting signatures aimed at getting the measure on the ballot, unless the governor files an appeal.
The Washtenaw County Board of Election Commissioners voted 2-1 the petition language, which says Snyder should be recalled for supporting sweeping new powers for emergency managers, including the ability to void labor agreements.
Michigan Citizens United member Tim Kramer said he was pleased with the Commission’s decision, but he knows it won’t be easy collecting 806,522 valid signatures in just 180 days.
That’s what they need in order to qualify for the November ballot.
“I think it’s gonna be pretty tough, to be honest with you. We’re trying to get 1.1 million signatures… that’s a lot of signitures to get. You know, we’ve got people all around the state who are helping us out, though — all the way from Benton Harbor to Marquette,” Kramer said.
The petition cites Snyder’s support for increasing taxes on retirees and low-income workers while substantially cutting business taxes. The state House passed a package of bills Thursday cutting business taxes by $1.7 billion by 2013 while raising taxes on retirement income by $300 million and doing away with the $354 million Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families in the budget year that starts Oct. 1.
Snyder’s attorney, John Pirich, called the language of the petition unclear, during his failed attempt to convince the Wahtenaw County Elections Commission not to approve it.
I think anyone who reads the language would see that, not only is it not clear, in our opinion, but it’s very misleading in regard to events that have not occurred or events that just are completely inaccurate,” Pirich said.
Pirich said he doesn’t know yet if the governor will appeal.
When Michigan Citizens United filed its recall petition last week, Wurfel said the governor remains focused on policies he says will help put Michigan on solid footing for the future.
“He knew full well going into this that it was certainly not going to be easy or a popularity contest,” she said.
But Tim Kramer, a resident of Oakland County’s Waterford Township and spokesman for Michigan Citizens United, said he thinks many residents are angry enough at Snyder to back the recall. Thousands of protesters have shown up at the Capitol in recent months to protest the emergency manager law, taxes on retirement income and measures that would reduce collective bargaining rights.
Petitions can’t be filed until July 1, since state law forbids a recall petition from being filed until the elected official has been in office for at least six months. The signatures must be filed no later than Aug. 5 to make the November ballot.
An effort to recall Snyder’s predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, fizzled in 2009. A 1983 effort to recall Democratic Gov. James Blanchard after he pushed through an income tax increase to deal with the budget deficit also failed to get on the ballot after supporters couldn’t collect enough signatures.
Nationally, only two governors have ever been recalled – California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier in 1921.
The Associated Press contribued to this report.