Michigan

Eligible for Recall: Debbie Stabenow (D): elected to third term in 2012, up for reelection in 2018; Gary Peters (D): elected to first term in 2014, up for reelection in 2020.

Signature Requirement: 25% of voters in last election for the Senator

Circulation Time: 90 days

Type of Recall Election: Recall Election Then Special Election

Constitutional Provision: Article II Section 8 (added Const. 1963, Art. II, §8, Eff. Jan. 1, 1964. created: 1908, Art. III, §8.)

"Laws shall be enacted to provide for the recall of all elective officers except judges of courts of record upon petition of electors equal in number to 25 percent of the number of persons voting in the last preceding election for the office of governor in the electoral district of the officer sought to be recalled. The sufficiency of any statement of reasons or grounds procedurally required shall be a political rather than a judicial question."

Initial Procedure: The Clarity Hearing is the first step in the recall process. The reasons for the recall must be submitted for a clarity determination before the recall petition is placed in circulation.

The clarity determination is rendered by the County Election Commission established in the county where the officer resides. The County Clerk, county treasure and Chief Judge of Probate serve as the commission.

The Process

  1. A registered voter in the electoral district of the one being recalled submits the reasoning to the county clerk. Reasons for the recall must relate to the officer's conduct during his/her current term in office.
  2. Within 24 hours of the submission the officer must be contacted of the filing of the petition language, the date, the contents, and the time, date and location of the clarity hearing.

The clarity hearing must be held between the 10 and the 20th day after the filing.

When the required hearing is held, the function of the County Election Commission is to determine "whether each reason for the recall stated in the petition is of sufficient clarity to enable the officer whose recall is sought and the electors to identify the course of conduct that is the basis for the recall." The County Election Commission does not have the authority to rule on the reasons for recall.

Failure to have a hearing rules in favor of the sponsors of the recall.

Ruling by the Commission may be appealed by the officer or sponsor.

Contact Info:
Michigan Department of State Bureau of Elections
PO Box 20126
Lansing, MI 48901
Phone: (517) 373-2540

Court Activity

Michigan Town Slates Mayoral Recall Election

News & Commentary

Michigan Mayor Is Recalled | 11/09/16

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- The city of Lowell will seek a new mayor after former Mayor Jeff Altoft was ousted Tuesday during a recall election.

Altoft lost to challenger Greg Canfield, chairman of the Lowell Light & Power Board, who earned almost 70 percent of the 1,695 votes cast, according to unofficial totals.

Effective immediately, Canfield will join the Lowell city council, which will choose the next mayor from one of its five members. In the meantime, Mayor Pro Tem Mike DeVore will fill in as acting mayor on an interim basis.

"The voters have spoken that they'd like to see the city council take a more positive direction and I'm excited to be part of that," Canfield said. "It's clear we're taking another direction and it'll hopefully be more positive."

The effort to remove Altoft from office began in March after a political action committee known as Forward Lowell raised questions about his role in the firing of former city manager Mark Howe after almost five years of service.

Read more.

Recall Petition against Michigan Governor Approved | 02/09/16

A petition to oust Governor Rick Snyder from office will soon be circling the state. The Michigan Board Of Canvassers approved a petition Monday night to recall the Governor, but not over the Flint Water crisis-- but rather for his decision in 2015 to move the state school reform office to a department under his control.

Nine other petitions, including petitions to recall the governor over the tainted water in Flint, were rejected by the Board Of Canvassers due to how the petitions were worded, or even misspellings. Those who submitted petitions to recall the Governor over the Flint Crisis, plan to rewrite their petitions and resubmit them.
The sole petition that was approved is valid for only 180 days. Organizers have sixty days within that window to collect 789,133 valid signatures.

Read more.

Petitions Approved for Recall of Two Michigan Legislators | 01/15/16

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan election officials have approved the wording of petitions that seek to recall two state senators from office for their votes to raise taxes and fees as part of a road-funding plan.

The Board of State Canvassers approved the petitions Thursday, after previously rejecting earlier versions.

Some residents are angry with Republican Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof of West Olive and Republican Sen. Wayne Schmidt of Traverse City for backing fuel tax and vehicle registration fee increases in November, months after voters rejected tax and fee hikes included in a ballot proposal.

Read more.

Michigan Town Recall Petition Rejected for Fourth Time | 06/16/15

WEST BLOOMFIELD -- Since March, a group of West Bloomfield residents has repeatedly attempted to recall three township board members.

And for the fourth time, the Oakland County Election Commission has rejected the petition language to recall Clerk Cathy Shaughnessy and trustees Lawrence Brown and Howard Rosenberg.

Attorney Ryan Fishman, who filed the recall petitions, said he was shocked that the language was rejected again, but at this point, he "maybe would have been more shocked if it would have been approved."

Fishman said the difficulty they face filing the petitions is that the law pertaining to recall language changed in 2012.

"Before, it used to be you could make any allegation you wanted, factual or not factual, and the language could be approved so long (as) it was clear," Fishman said. Now, the language must be factual and clear.

Fishman said he is reworking the language to make it "more abundantly clear" why the residents are seeking to recall the board members and what the issues are. Fishman was expected to file the new language within a week. If it fails, he will then explore appealing, he said.

Read more.

Deadline for May Recall Passes in Michigan Town, but Drive Goes On | 02/23/15

PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP -- There won't be a recall election in May, but efforts to oust Plymouth Township's three full-time elected officials, plus a longtime Board of Trustees member, are continuing.

Supervisor Richard Reaume, Clerk Nancy Conzelman, Treasurer Ron Edwards and Trustee Kay Arnold are the targets of the recall effort, which proponents say was started out of frustration with what they call the officials' unwillingness to listen to and share information with the public, particularly on recent recreation projects.

Recall targets say they have considered public input and been open and that the recall is being led by a disgruntled minority.

Activists missed a Jan. 30 deadline for a May recall election, but are still gathering voters' signatures on recall petitions against the four. About 3,200 petition signatures are needed, against each of them, in order to force a recall election against all four.

Read more.

Michigan Town Official to Face Recall Election | 02/20/15

TAWAS CITY - The question as to whether Tawas City Mayor Pro Tem Dave Dickman should be removed from office will be on the May 5 ballot, according to Iosco County Clerk Nancy Huebel.

Huebel said the ballot will also list candidates to replace Dickman, should he be recalled. Dickman will be one of those names, since he did not withdraw from consideration within 10 days of the filing of the recall petitions.

Read more.

Michigan Township Recall Changes Could Cause Ballot Confusion | 09/30/14

COTTRELLVILLE TWP - Voters will have to pay close attention to the ballot in November, as the recall process has changed.

Township Trustee Michael Zoran is up for recall.

While previously residents would first vote whether or not they wanted to recall the elected official, then would vote in a second election to replace them, the process has been streamlined onto one ballot.

Cottrellville Township residents will be asked to vote for Zoran or Matt Kovalcik in the Nov. 4 election. The man with the most votes will complete the trustee term which ends Nov. 20, 2016.

Read more.

Michigan Town Slates Mayoral Recall Election | 08/14/14

BENTON HARBOR - The Benton Harbor mayoral recall election will be on the Nov. 4 ballot.

That was the order issued on August 12 by Berrien County Trial Court Judge John Dewane after hearing testimony Aug. 7 during a civil trial.

The decision to schedule the election hinged on Dewane's decision that the practice of the Berrien County Clerk's Office to disqualify both signatures if a person signed a recall petition twice violates the person's First Amendment free speech rights.

Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler said in a press release that she was surprised by his ruling, since it was based on an issue that had not been raised until the day of the trial.

Tyler said she dealt with the duplicate signatures as she had been instructed by the state Bureau of Elections.

"It appears that the court's ruling today will likely have state-wide implications on the bureau, as well as all county and local clerks in the state of Michigan concerning their qualifying of petition signatures," she said.

The recall election between Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower and City Commissioner Marcus Muhammad was originally scheduled for May 4 but was halted at Tyler's request so the recall petition signatures could be further examined for validity.

Read more.

Michigan Moves Toward Limiting Recalls | 12/04/12


LANSING -- A Michigan House panel has approved legislation that would tighten language related to recall elections and restrict the time period in which people can be voted out of office.

Click here for full article.

Detroit Mayor Bing Could Face Recall | 12/03/12


DETROIT (WJBK) -- The Wayne County Election Commission confirms that a recall petition for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has been approved.  Just 43,000 signatures are needed to call a special election as early as mid-February.

Click here for full article and video.

Michigan GOP Vows to Reclaim Seat of Recalled State Rep. Paul Scott | 11/09/11

Republicans vowed today to reclaim the seat of recalled state Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc, and said his removal - the first successful recall of a state lawmaker since 1983 - will not affect their agenda. Click  here for full story.

The Real Purpose of Political Recall Elections | 10/08/11

Average citizens don't usually pay much attention to recalls, but lawmakers watch them like hawks. Citizens should jealously guard any power they have that so captures their representatives' attention. (Commentary)
Click here for full story.

Michigan Legislator Prepares Against Recall Effort | 09/12/11

Michigan Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc) is preparing against a recall election in November.

Michigan Mayor to Be on Recall Ballot in November | 09/06/11

TAYLOR -- A recall question involving Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand will be on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Click here for full story.

Reckless Congress Makes Case for Recall | 12/17/10

"If ever a Congress epitomized the need for more accountability, it's the 111th lame-duck gang. Sorry, that's unfair to gangsters. With most Americans distracted by holiday plans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has sprung another Christmas surprise, vowing to ram through a far-left agenda in the waning days of 2010. Last year, he put a giant lump of coal in Americans' stockings with Christmas Eve passage of Obamacare."

Click here for the full story from The Washington Times.

The Right of Recall | 01/25/10

By Peter Ferrara. This article originally appeared on Fox Forum on January 25, 2010.

Congress is out of control. The public overwhelmingly opposes the pending legislation for a government takeover of health care. But Congressional leaders are telling us they don't care. They know best, and they're going to pass it anyway.

We see the same attitude on other issues, from global warming regulation, to taxes, government spending, deficits, federal debt, energy policy, welfare, corporate bailouts, and beyond. Too many of our Congressional "representatives" seem unwilling to listen to the views of their constituents, insisting that they already know it all. They respond to dissenters with name-calling, labeling them yahoos, Nazis, and tea baggers.

Continue reading “The Right of Recall”.

Each state has its own requirements as to the manner in which petitions must be collected, signed and filed. It is imperative that official recall committees are legally formed in each state according to the state laws and regulations. The handling of the petitions must comply with the laws and regulations of each state.