A group seeking to recall Michigan Rep. Larry Inman (R-Grand Traverse County) plans to take its case to the Michigan Court of Appeals after the state’s Bureau of Elections rejected the group’s recall petition because it contained a typo.
“The Bureau has completed its preliminary review and finds that the form of the recall petition is improper, because the reasons for recall printed in the heading of the circulated petition sheets are different from the reasons for recall that the Board of State Canvassers approved as factual and sufficiently clear to enable Representative Inman and the voters to identify the course of conduct that prompted this recall attempt. As a result, none of the 13,859 signatures filed can be counted as valid,” Director of Elections Sally Williams wrote in a November 29 letter to the Inman Recall Committee.
The letter notes that the “reasons for recall printed in the heading of every petition sheet” submitted to the Bureau of Elections mistakenly omit the word “right,” and are therefore invalid.
The Inman Recall Committee announced in a December 2 press release that it has requested emergency relief from the Michigan Court of Appeals to proceed with the recall effort.
“This decision to halt the recall has profound practical consequences for recall efforts everywhere in Michigan,” said Sondra Shaw Hardy, main sponsor of the recall petition. “Up to this point, this recall effort has been a fight for the people of the 104th to be represented in Lansing. Now we find we must also fight for all people in Michigan to support our constitutional right to recall.”
Inman was indicted by a federal grand jury in May on charges of attempted extortion, bribery, and lying to an FBI agent, but the Inman Recall Committee claims that it was his actions after being charged that prompted the recall effort.
“Inman’s actions after being indicted in May 2019 are the reason for the recall. He missed over 80 votes, did not show up for more than 3 months of work, and asserted diminished capacity due to opioid usage as part of his defense in the criminal case,” the group said in a press release.
Michael Naughton, legal counsel for the Inman Recall Committee, said “perfection has never been the applicable standard.”
“I believe it is unreasonable and unprecedented to impose a standard of meticulous perfection on citizens attempting a recall effort,” he said, arguing that the courts should “review recall petitions with a lenient perspective in favor of the people.”
“The recall effort has been an enormous lift for our community and a complex process,” said Kaitlin Flynn, campaign manager for the committee. “Human error is unavoidable. The bottom line is that meaningless typos should not silence the voices of nearly 14,000 voters.”
The group has asked the Michigan Court of Appeals to immediately consider the issue and direct the Bureau of Elections to begin validating the signatures.
Inman’s trial began Tuesday in U.S. District Court and the Republican lawmaker has resisted calls to resign.
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