The head of a nonpartisan group committed to voting rights is highly critical of petitions to recall state lawmakers, calling the effort a case of “sour grapes.”
Earlier this week, the Advance reported recall petitions against six state representatives from Michigan, five Democrats and one Republican.
And now two more petitions have been turned in seeking the recall of a sixth Democrat, state Rep. Noah Arbit of West Bloomfield, and a second Republican, state Rep. Donni Steele of Orion Township.
Jamie Lyons-Eddy is the executive director of Voters Not Politicians (VNP), which spearheaded a 2018 initiative reforming redistricting in Michigan and a 2022 effort that expanded voting access across the state.
“Let’s be clear, these recall efforts against duly elected legislators from both parties are anti-democratic,” she told the Michigan Advance. “Simply put, they are a waste of taxpayer money and distract lawmakers from what voters sent them to Lansing to do.”
Three petitions target state Reps. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor), Reggie Miller (D-Belleville) and Jaime Churches (D-Wyandotte) for their yes votes on legislation to expand the definition of hate crimes to include violence on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, age and disability. That was the same rationale for the petition turned in Wednesday against Arbit.
The recall petitions for Reps. Sharon MacDonell (D-Troy) and Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City) cite their yes votes on the House’s version of “red flag” gun legislation to allow for judges to issue a temporary order for the removal of firearms for defendants that pose a significant threat to themselves or others. Steele’s recall was also connected to gun reform, but in her case it was for her vote in favor of House Bill 4139, the House version of legislation requiring the safe storage of firearms.
Republican Rep. Cam Cavitt of Cheboygan had a recall petition filed against him last week, in his case citing his yes vote when the House elected Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) to act as House speaker for the legislative session that began in January.
Regardless, VNP’s Lyons-Eddy says the petitions are out of line with the spirit of the recall process.
“Yes, recalls are an important tool in a democracy, but voters know very well that they are intended for cases of criminal behavior or dereliction of duty, not sour grapes about votes that someone doesn’t like,” she said. “In our democracy, the remedy for lawmakers who aren’t accurately representing the views of their constituents is the next election, which in the case of the Michigan House of Representatives is less than 18 months away.”
This story was originally published by Michigan Advance. Read more here: https://michiganadvance.com/2023/07/22/voting-rights-advocate-calls-recall-petitions-against-six-state-lawmakers-anti-democratic/