LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The State Board of Canvassers on Monday unanimously approved a petition to recall Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder that doesn't mention the lead contamination of Flint water, but rejected several other proposals that cite the water crisis in seeking his removal from office.
Board members said those proposals didn't state "factually" and "clearly" each reason for the recall. They said many had misspelled words or incorrect titles of laws.
Supporters of recalling the Republican over Flint's supply of corrosive river water pleaded with the board, asking members to ignore "minor mistakes." The Rev. David Bullock, a Detroit-area pastor who spoke during the board's tense meeting, argued that the meaning and intent in his proposals were clear despite two misspelled words.
"What I am concerned about is though these seem small, if we approve of these petitions with these errors and you go out and circulate them, turn in your signatures, you are open for a legal challenge in court that can easily throw all of that work out the door," said board member Jeannette Bradshaw, a Democrat who voted in favor of two proposals.
"This is not the end of some process. Sometimes it takes two or three times to get it right," she said. "What appear to be small errors are actually potentially large errors that can devalue all of your work."
The petition that board members did approve was filed by Benjamin Lazarus and seeks to remove Snyder because of his authorization to move the office that deals with struggling schools— the State School Reform Office/Redesign Office— into the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The restructuring placed the office directly under Snyder's control.
The board was split 2-2, across party lines, on one water crisis-related recall proposal that cites Snyder's acknowledgment in last month's State of the State speech that he failed Flint residents. The proposal needed at least a 3-1 vote in favor for approval.
Republicans Norman D. Shinkle and Colleen Pero both voted against it. Shinkle argued the proposal was not strictly "clear" and "factual" because it required board members to make an inference about its meaning, though Democrat Julie Matuzak said the language met their criteria.
Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams said petition language can be resubmitted at any time. If the board approves the language of a petition, those wanting to recall Snyder would still need to collect more than 789,000 signatures within a 60-day window, Woodhams said.