Gov. Rick Snyder signed bipartisan legislation Thursday to create a more streamlined process for recalling elected officials.
“The option to recall an elected official is an important feature of our state’s democratic process, but Michigan’s current recall system has some components that all sides have agreed are flawed,” Snyder said. “These changes will help ensure recalls are done in a fair and consistent manner and help prevent political gamesmanship from both sides of the aisle.”
All recall petitions against state officials will now be reviewed by the Board of State Canvassers. Previously, county election boards reviewed petitions to determine sufficient clarity of language. This could lead to language being deemed clear and therefore fit for the ballot in some counties, but unclear and therefore unfit for the ballot in other counties.
In addition, rather than a yes or no recall question, voters will have a choice between the current officeholder and a challenger. The challenger will be chosen during a recall primary election. This ensures constituents receive constant representation rather than facing an empty seat after a successful recall.
Per specifications in the Michigan Constitution, the governor will still face the current system of a yes or no recall question, and that if a governor is recalled, he or she will be replaced by the lieutenant governor.
The legislation also requires that lawmakers be in office for at least six months before recall language is submitted to the Board of State Canvassers for approval, and narrows the time for gathering signatures from 90 to 60 days.
House Bills 6060 and 6063, sponsored by state Reps. Anthony Forlini and Harold Haugh, now are Public Acts 417 and 418 of 2012.
Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.