60 Days, 790,000 Signatures

After starting their day in Flint, two organizers from Stop Snyder drove an hour down to Lansing’s east side. In a small community room inside Everybody Reads book shop, they met with a handful of people gathered together to learn how to collect petition signatures.

One man had driven all the way from Hillsdale County, an hour south of Lansing.

“My daughter goes to MSU, so I thought I’d stop by,” he said.

This event is one of more than a dozen such opportunities that the petition organizers have set up where Michiganders can learn how to effectively canvass and collect signatures.

“There have been changes to the law. You used to collect signatures by county, now you collect them by city, township, or village,” David Bullock explained. Bullock is currently the pastor at Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Highland Park, Michigan—one of the cities affected by the state’s emergency financial manager law.

Another change to the law nullifies the signature of anyone who signs the petition twice. Previously, the state would recognize the first signature.

That shouldn’t matter, right? Well, consider that the Michigan State Board of Canvassers has also approved the language for two other petitions to recall Governor Snyder.

“In fact, there are seven petitions that the board of canvassers recently approved,” David said. “Four of them are for state senators, three are for Governor Snyder.”

One of the approved petitions was from Benjamin Lazarus, a member of the Warren Consolidated School Board of Education and a former supporter of the governor. His petition was approved in early February. The other, approved a month later, was penned by Quincy Murphy from the City of Flint Charter Review Commission.

Rather than competing with David Bullock’s petition, the two men agreed that they wouldn’t circulate their own versions.

Stop Snyder has a tall task in order: collect 790,000 signatures in 60 days. Even if the group collects enough signatures and the State Board of Canvassers validates them, the measure won’t be on the ballot this November due to a provision in Michigan law.

Instead, they are aiming to get the question before voters in 2017.

“Not to be too pessimistic,” I said, “but that seems to really diminish your chances of getting this passed, doesn’t it?”

Devon pushed back at that idea immediately.

“We’re not looking at it that way. We’ve got a year. That gives us a chance to build a broad coalition across Michigan.”

Devon expressed his belief that Michigan is in need of a diverse coalition to help move the state forward after what happened in Flint.

From Lansing, David and Devon were going to head to East Lansing before then heading back toward Downriver on the south side of Detroit. The official kickoff for the recall is today, Easter Sunday.

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