Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is one step closer to being recalled by the voters, after a state election board approved a petition that would start the process of removing the scandal-plagued governor from office, MLive is reporting.
More than 100 Michigan residents, upset over Snyder’s involvement in the Flint water crisis, crowded into a meeting of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers to express their frustration, and to submit recall petitions. Of the 10 petitions presented before Monday’s meeting, nine were rejected on technicalities – mostly spelling errors.
Dorothy Batchelder, who has relatives in Flint, expressed anger at having recall petitions turned away over typos when people are suffering severe health issues.
“You are playing with semantics and in the meantime my family and members of my family have been poisoned.”
The one recall petition to be approved is not directly tied to the Flint water crisis – it has to do with Snyder’s involvement in an unpopular education reform plan – but nevertheless it bears the hallmarks of Michiganders’ frustration with Flint.
Snyder, 57, has been at the center of a firestorm of controversy ever since the magnitude of the Flint water crisis came to light.
In April 2014, in an effort to save money, Flint stopped purchasing treated Detroit water (which came from the Detroit River and Lake Huron) and instead began drawing water from the Flint River. The corrosive Flint River water, according to Mother Jones, leached lead from the city’s aging water pipes, eventually poisoning between 6,000 and 12,000 Flint children, and rendering the water brown, smelly, and undrinkable.
The contaminated water may also be responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease that killed ten people and sickened dozens more, according to The Flint Journal.
How much direct culpability Rick Snyder bears for the Flint water crisis is a matter of dispute, according to The Atlantic. That officials in the Snyder administration were painfully slow to respond is beyond question; in July 2015, Snyder’s then-chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, sent an email to a state health department official.
“I’m frustrated by the water issue in Flint I really don’t think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. Now they are concerned and rightfully so about the lead level studies they are receiving. These folks are scared and worried about the health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us (as a state we’re just not sympathizing with their plight).”
In the meantime, Snyder has been attempting to address the problem. In January Snyder declared a state of emergency, and the Snyder administration has put aside tens of millions of dollars to help Flint residents, according to Huffington Post.
For frustrated Flint residents, it’s too little, too late, and some of them want Snyder gone, as evidenced by the dozen or so petitions that have been submitted to the Board of Canvassers.
Monday’s action on one of Snyder recall petitions is merely the first of many steps in a long process with an uncertain future. Now that a Snyder recall petition has been approved, its backers have 180 days to complete the next step. Backers must now gather 789,133 signatures within a 60-day period (before the end of the 180 day period that began Monday) to put the recall question on a statewide ballot. Michigan voters would then be allowed to vote on whether or not to recall Snyder.
Do you think Michigan Governor Rick Snyder should be recalled over the Flint water crisis? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]