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Editorial: Recall bill deserves serious consideration

December 14, 2012
The Alpena News

The Michigan Legislature hasn't been just locked into Right-To-Work legislation in Lansing this week.

Legislators also are considering a number of related bills dealing with revising the procedures for recall elections in the state.

Having had the region just go through a recall election in Alpena, we think the proposed changes are worth considering. In essence, the bills would raise the bar, so to speak, for those wishing to begin recall procedures against elected officials.

For instance, the bills would limit when recall elections could be held, recall language would have to be factual, it would limit to just one recall against a person during the term of his position and it would require the challenger to compete against the official up for recall.

According to The Mining Journal in Marquette: "Although no one believes corrupt, inept or otherwise bad elected officials should be retained in office, the recall elections we've seen have, it could be argued, created as many problems as they solved. They divide communities and even families, inflicting wounds that take years to heal. And very often the elected official's overall record is ignored and one specific issue - even one specific vote - is the focus.

"Recall elections often draw just a small percentage of voters when compared to the election that put the official in office in the first place, giving an inordinate amount of power to a relatively small number of people. And complicating matters even further is the leeway the current law allows on recall language. Presently, the allegations and claims on a recall petition don't have to be true, even in small part, to end up on a ballot. They just need to be clearly stated."

We believe this package of bills is a step in the right direction. We hope legislators do as well.



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