Source: Sherman Publications

Remove Images

Rep. Paul Scott recall on Nov. 8 Atlas Township ballot

by Susan Bromley

November 02, 2011

Atlas Twp.- Township residents will have the opportunity to vote on Tuesday afterall.

The sole issue on the Nov. 8 ballot for residents will be whether to recall State Representative Paul Scott (R-51).

Numerous last-minute court challenges caused confusion and doubt to whether the recall would make it to the ballot.

"The recall language was approved in September, but there were a number of court motions," said Township Clerk Tere Onica. "They put us in a bind because Paul Scott filed in several courts to stop it."

Recall supporters cite Scott's votes in favor of cutting education funding, as well as taxing pension and other retirement income as reasons to remove the Grand Blanc resident from office. Toward that end, they obtained more than 12,000 signatures, of which more than 11,000 were verified as valid, well over the minimum number of signatures needed.

However, Scott filed multiple legal challenges to the recall in several courts in an attempt to stop the proposal from being put on the ballot. On Oct. 13, Onica said Ingham County Judge Clinton Canady signed an order enjoining the recall, meaning the recall election would not happen.

With other pending claims, and appeals by recall supporters, Onica had to stop processing ballots, and ceased other election work. She had already been receiving completed absentee ballots and had to tell other voters that were requesting absentee ballots that they were "on standby."

"I had to follow the court ruling and told everyone that it could be overturned," she said. "I've never ever had this happen before in 12 years as clerk, neither has anyone else that I know working elections."

Onica notes Scott was within his rights to file the challenges. She believes the legal deadlines should be reviewed.

On Oct. 20, the State Supreme Court overturned Canady's decision and reinstated the order denying the preliminary injunction. Scott requested the Supreme Court move the recall election to February because he believed the voters had been disenfranchised and elections officials were confused, but the Supreme Court denied the request. Oct. 24 was the final deadline to overturn any court decisions regarding the election.

As of Tuesday, Onica said the township clerk's office had received 252 absentee ballots. All ballots returned have been secured. She expects about a 20 percent voter turnout for this election, which is average for a local proposal or recall.

The Scott recall proposal is the sole issue on Atlas Township ballots. The cost to hold the election is about $5,000. Scott's term ends next year. If he is recalled, an election will be held in February to fill the seat until the term is completed.

On the ballot, the proposal to recall Scott reads as follows:

Statement of Reason:

State Representative Paul Scott voted in favor of House Bill 4325, which cut funding for Michigan K-12 schools, community colleges and universities by an estimated total of more than $1 billion. He also voted in favor of House Bill 4361, which increased taxes on public and private pension income as well as other retirement income for taxpayers born after 1946.