Gov. Rick Snyder signed bipartisan legislation to create a fairer and 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 changed will help ensure recalls are done in a fair and consistent manner and help prevent political gamesmanship from both sides of the aisle."
Under the new law, all recall petitions against state officials will be reviewed by the Board of State Canvassers.
Previously, county election boards reviewed petitions to determine sufficient language. The problem with this policy, Snyder says, is that it could lead to language being deemed clear and therefore fit the ballot in some counties, but unclear and unfit in others.
In addition, rather than a yes or no recall question, voters will now have a choice between the current officeholder and a challenger. The challenger will be chosen during a recall primary election. This ensures voters receive constant representation, rather than risk facing an empty seat if the recall is successful.
As called for 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 new law also requires that lawmakers be in office for at least six months before recall language is submitted for approval. It will also narrow the time for gathering signatures from the existing 90 days to 60 days.