Without ceremony, Gov. Rick Snyder signed two bills Thursday that make sweeping changes to the process for recalling an elected official. Critics say the bills could make it nearly impossible to recall a state senator or representative by limiting signature gathering to 60 days — instead of the current 90-day window — and limiting recalls to May and November election dates. The legislation changes the dynamic of a recall election by requiring a challenger to run in the recall race against the elected official who is being recalled instead of holding a referendum on the incumbent. One of the bills creates a process for a special primary election to nominate a recall challenger. Governors, however, would still be subject to a yes-or-no recall vote, as stipulated in the state constitution.
The new law would prohibit recall campaigns against senators in the first and last year of their four-year term and against representatives in the first six months and last six months of a two-year term.
“The whole thing is absurd,” said Bob McCann, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing.
House Bill 6060 designates the State Board of Canvassers to decide whether statements in recall petitions against state-level and countywide officials are factual.
“This is not something the board wanted,” said Julie Matuzak, chairwoman of the Board of State Canvassers.