Source: Sherman Publications

Scott narrowly recalled
Republican lawmaker loses bid to keep office despite Atlas Township support

by David Fleet

November 09, 2011

Atlas Twp.-He’s out.

State Representative Paul Scott (R-51st Grand Blanc) was ousted from office by a vote of 12,284 to 12,087 following a recall election on Nov. 8.

In the township, 33.5 percent of registered voters turned out, with 972 votes to recall Scott and 1,035 votes to keep him in office.

The 51st District covers Atlas, Argentine, Grand Blanc, Fenton and Mundy townships and includes the cities of Grand Blanc, Linden, and Fenton, in addition to the villages of Argentine and Goodrich.

“A 33.5 percent turnout in the township is excellent,” said Tere Onica, township clerk. “About 20 percent turnout was expected.”

Recall supporters cited 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.

Scott supporters cited that he voted to balance the 2011/2012 state budget without raising taxes, voted for pension tax reform, which kept taxes unchanged for all senior citizens born before 1946, voted to ensure that all pension and retirement income will be taxed equally, voted to close the loophole that allowed government pensions to be tax-free, voted to keep Social Security and military pensions exempt from the state income tax, voted for teacher tenure reform that helps kids by making it easier and less expensive for schools to remove bad teachers and retain good teachers and voted to eliminate special tax credits for businesses while reducing taxes on Michigan’s small businesses to help create jobs.

A Feb. 28 closed primary will be held to fill Scott’s seat. The term ends in November 2012.

The recall election cost township taxpayers about $5,000 and they will pay again in February 2012 to elect a replacement, said Onica.

The recall election which Scott filed several appeals against in court, also featured poll challengers during Tuesday’s balloting.

Prudy Adam, chairperson of the Genesee County Republican Party, said poll challengers were assigned throughout Genesee County during the election.

“We have poll challengers out there,” said Adam. “We had done it in the past and it’s not uncommon. The volunteers are trained and know what to look for when they go to the polls. There’s always issues during an election. For example, at an Argentine Township poll a few voters were not registered when they came in to cast ballots. The were registered and can now vote in 30 days. It does not mean voters or election workers were trying to cheat. As far as I know Atlas Township was a clean election.”

Onica said the GOP contacted her prior to the election.

“They have the right to stand behind the election worker,” she said. “It’s made my election inspectors a little nervous, but they were very polite.

Onica believes the Republican challengers were there since the election had been on-again-off-again as challenges to the recall continued up until the last few weeks. In addition, Onica speculates that because Scott lost the election, a challenge is more likely.

“This is the first time voter registration has been challenged in Atlas Township over the last 12 years,” she said.