Nick Krieger (@nckrieger):
I have received a number of inquiries concerning the likelihood of recalling Governor Rick Snyder, how the process would work, and who would replace him if he is recalled. I just want to clear up a couple of misconceptions.
1. The Michigan Board of State Canvassers has approved the language of two recall petitions submitted against Governor Rick Snyder—one at a meeting on February 8, 2016, and the other at a meeting on February 22, 2016.
I think that it will be extraordinarily difficult to gather the required signatures. With regard to either petition, it will be necessary to collect at least 789,133 valid signatures within a 60-day period. MCL 168.955; MCL 168.961(2)(d). Considering that there are roughly 9 million people living in Michigan, this means that the petition circulators will have only two months to gather valid signatures from about 9 percent of the state’s entire population. That sounds difficult.
2. Assuming that either petition does receive the necessary signatures, the gubernatorial recall election will proceed. But under Michigan’s amended statute, a recall of the governor proceeds differently than a recall of a state legislator, for instance.
Following the recall of former State Representative Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc) in 2011, the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature significantly amended the state’s recall law. See 2012 PA 417. Pursuant to Michigan’s amended recall statute, a member of congress, state legislator, statewide elected official (other than the governor), or countywide elected officer who is subject to recall automatically becomes the nominee of his or her party in a recall general election, wherein he or she faces a candidate of the other party who has been nominated in a separate recall primary election. MCL 168.970a; MCL 168.970b; MCL 168.970c. The individual who receives the greatest number of votes at the recall general election is elected to serve for the remainder of the term in question. MCL 168.970g.
But this procedure does not apply to a recall of the governor.
If a recall petition is filed against the governor and garners sufficient signatures, a special recall election is held. At that special recall election, the question printed on the ballot states, “Shall [the individual subject to recall] be recalled from the office of governor?” “Yes___” or “No___”? MCL 168.975e. If a majority of the votes are cast in favor of recalling the governor, the Board of State Canvassers certifies the results of the recall election and the lieutenant governor immediately replaces the governor for the remainder of the term. MCL 168.975g. In fact, this procedure is required by the Michigan Constitution, which provides that “[i]n case of . . . [the governor’s] removal from office . . . the lieutenant governor, the elected secretary of state, the elected attorney general and such other persons designated by law shall in that order be governor for the remainder of the governor’s term.” Const 1963, art 5, sec 26.
I hope this answers some lingering questions.