Savaged: The Little Recall Effort That Could — Snyder Recall Proceeds Despite the Odds
The grassroots effort to recall Michigan governor Rick Snyder has always been a long shot. Pundits like Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry and Michigan Liberal’s Eric Baerren have sneeringly declared it dead before it even got its feet on the ground. “No money!” they cried. “Can’t be done!” “Waste of time!” “Nobody has ever been successful!” Even the bigger media outlets such as the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press and MLive.com seem to take undisguised glee with every report of the recall’s struggles.
There’s no question that it has been a struggle. In a state where so many are challenged just to keep a roof over their head, the lights on and food on the table, motivating volunteers to go out in one of the hottest summers on record to stand in the sun with clipboards to gather signatures has been no easy task. They have had absolutely no help at all from the Michigan Democratic Party. As I wrote at Eclectablog back in May, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin got involved in the recall effort against Scott Walker in a very obvious and important way. The Michigan Democratic Party? Not one word. Not one press release. In fact, Party chairman Mark Brewer has been outspoken about the fact that the MDP will not be involved.
In May, the largest Democratic website, Daily Kos, got involved (you can read my interview with Chris Bowers from Daily Kos HERE.) More recently, the Michigan Education Association got involved and, although they were late to the party, they do bring significant resources with them.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for the recall organizers has been the extremely short period of time Michigan laws allow for the collection of petition signatures. The petition language is approved for 180 days. However, the signatures must be gathered within a 90-day window. To get the recall question on a statewide ballot, recall organizers need to collect just over 800,000 valid signatures. With a target of a million or more and only 90 days in which to gather them, the challenge is formidable, to be sure.
The original deadline for gathering signatures passed last week and organizers were considerably short of their goal. However, they are not stopping their effort. Although they won’t be able to get the recall on the November 2011 ballot, they are still planning to move forward.
The Committee to recall Rick Snyder (CRRS) has decided to extend this petition drive. Here’s how it all works.
The petition as it passed clarity is valid for 180 days. The signatures that we submit to the SOS have to have been collected in a 90-day window period. That 90-day window can thus move forward, allowing us to extend our signature gathering period.
The only caveat to doing this is that with every day that we extend the drive, a day of signature gathering is lost. For example, we will drop off the period May 21st to July 1st when signature gathering was slow. That will as of today, extend our petition drive to roughly September 29th.
The diagram below is based on our best projection as we still do not have final figures to say with certainty what we will need during this timeframe. It’s close and if anything we err on the safe/conservative side.
As you can see, given the current momentum, it is totally within the mathematical realm of possibility that we will be able to collect the less than 800,000 signatures in the remaining 60 days. We will lose less than 10,000 signatures if we drop the period May 21st through June 30th. We will keep the more than 300,000 we collected during the month on July. In effect that gives us a starting month count of over 300,000 signatures. One can hardly wish for a better start.
In an email to May and June signers, the CRRS said:
A quick note to those who signed during May and June.
Yes, your signatures will have to be gathered again. You will be informed personally during the next few weeks if your signature was one of those, as well as the next steps to follow if you would like to re-sign the petition. We are currently confirming locations and dates across the state where you will once again have the opportunity.
Chris Bowers had this to say about the change in plans:
With 300,000 signatures gathered in July, we are actually on pace to surpass 807,000 by September 29. And it was done by an all-volunteer organization and with less than $40,000.
This shows the goal is reachable. Groups convinced it couldn’t be done, or that it would be too expensive, they should all jump in. The water is fine.
In addition to this shift in the petition gathering window, the CRRS has replaced their Communications Director Tim Kramer with Tom Bryant, a move they say more “reflects the committee’s goals and principals.” The CRRS has also teamed up with Michigan Forward, the organizers of the effort to repeal Public Act 4 of 2011, the so-called “Emergency Manager Law.”
Michigan Forward and the Committee to Recall Rick Snyder are pleased to announce the formation of a new partnership. CRRS and Michigan Forward will join together in fielding thousands of volunteers to recall the elected proponents,and repeal from the law books,the “Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act (PA4).” CRRS has over 5,000 volunteers,many of whom have already carried petitions for both recall and repeal,and who will join the thousands of volunteers who have signed up to help circulate petitions to place repeal of Public Act 4 on the November 2012 ballot.
“The passage of Public Act 4 is one of the most egregious pieces of legislation crafted in Michigan’s history. Having CRRS partnering with us to repeal this legislation turns this from a campaign to a movement.” says Brandon Jessup, Chairman and CEO, Michigan Forward and Chairman of Stand Up for Democracy. “Michigan voters sent a clear message earlier this month. A majority of voters polled would vote to repeal Public Act 4. This unfunded mandate on Michigan residents is only part of the problem;we need legislators that will draft policy for Michigan’s progress not our detriment.”
“The Committee to Recall Rick Snyder (CRRS) is thrilled that this partnership has been formed,“ says the leadership team of CRRS.
Will the recall effort succeed? If current momentum, the additional resources and the rising dissatisfaction of Michigan residents are any indication, the answer to that question is “Yes.” In the long-term, however, their ultimate success may be less important than the message even a partial success would send. Along with other recall efforts around this state, the Snyder recall drive is showing Michigan Republicans that they are being scrutinized by voters and they should be on notice. With the 2012 election season just around the corner, their opponents are already organized, fired up and ready to take action against them. Referring to similar efforts in Wisconsin, Greg Sargent from the Washington Post’s The Plum Line blog wrote earlier this week:
Even if Dems don’t take back the state senate in the end, it seems clear that the Wisconsin recall wars are shaping up as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the 2012 elections. Whatever happens, Wisconsin Dems have already succeeded in creating a true grassroots movement built around an unabashedly class-based set of themes that rely on a type of bare-knuckled class-warfare rhetoric that makes many national Dems queasy. In this sense, success in Wisconsin could offer a model for a more aggressive, populist approach for Dems in 2012.
The Committee to Recall Rick Snyder gathered over a third of the signatures they’d set out to, nearly 10,000 signatures a day. They did it in July during the hottest summer weather we’ve had in Michigan in decades, and they did it while spending a fraction of the money detractors claimed they’d need to spend. Petition gatherers report that people are seeking them out to sign their petitions. If the group continues its momentum for only two more months, Republicans in Michigan, including the governor, will be on notice that their overreach in implementing their ideological agenda will not be tolerated by their constituents and their time in office will be limited. After all, the most effective recall strategy of them all is the ballot box.
For more of Chris Savage’s writing, visit Eclectablog.
Short URL: http://www.a2politico.com/?p=9616