Weaker Recall Rights in Michigan?

Mon, Apr 5 2010 by Anonymous

The Saginaw News has a piece in which Saginaw Valley State University political science professor Robert W. Lane and several Saginaw-area officials claim Michiganders’ ability to recall elected officials is too powerful and should be weakened.

Among the proposed restrictions are limiting the grounds on which elected officials can be recalled, forcing the person who initiated a recall to pay for the election if the recall fails, and making the threshold of votes needed to recall an official higher than the original amount of votes that elected the official. All of these limitations would make it harder to recall elected officials, giving voters less power.

The logic used to justify the restrictions doesn’t make much sense:

If the law was more strict, say some leaders — including some recalled or targeted for recall — it could filter out the attempts that never would have made it to the ballot from the more justified attempts that usually succeed.

Isn’t there already something in place to “filter out” attempts that won’t make the ballot, namely, the petitioning process itself? If an attempt isn’t going to make the ballot anyway, why does it need to be “filter[ed] out?” The most important question though, is whether “leaders — including some recalled or targeted for recall” are the best ones to be filtering out which recall attempts they deem worthy and which ones they would rather not have to deal with.

Little is mentioned of any grassroots support for weakening the recall laws, but one thing is for sure: any changes to Michigan’s recall law should be put before the voters at a general election.




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