Advance Notice: Briefs

Board rejects another Whitmer recall petition

By: - June 18, 2020 4:05 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives an update on COVID-19 | Gov. Whitmer office photo

A recall petition aimed to repeal the emergency powers of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was unanimously rejected Thursday by the Board of State Canvassers, saying it lacks clarity and a factual basis. 

Chris Trebilcock, the attorney representing Whitmer, said that the petition filed against the governor includes inaccurate paraphrases and misrepresents the governor’s executive orders.

Michael Garabelli, who filed the petition, said that he pulled from quotes reported by Michigan news outlets where she noted disinformation being spread during the COVID-19 pandemic and stated that organizations protesting against her executive powers were largely funded by the DeVos family.

However, members of the board were troubled by differences in the quotes provided by Garabelli and the transcript provided by Trebilcock, noting that the quotes likely lack context.

Garabelli also referenced in the petition Executive Order 2020-50, which enhanced protections for residents and staff of long term care facilities, and Executive Order 2020-17, which placed temporary restrictions on non-essential medical and dental procedures.

Trebilcock said the petition did not detail the full extent of each executive order and therefore is a misrepresentation of the act.

“When referencing a legislative act the contents of the act must be fairly represented, it cannot be misrepresented and there has to be some statements included so that electors know what the legislative act is,” Trebilcock said.

Board member Norm Shinkle, a Republican, said he believes the issue is less with the factual basis of whether Whitmer signed the executive orders listed in the petition, but said his greatest concern is with the quote included in the petition. 

“My only problem here is these two quotes. There’s no transcript. I’m not sure she actually made the quotes,” Shinkle said. 

The petition was unanimously rejected by the board for “not factually and clearly stating each reason for the recall of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because of a lack of clarity, or unproven factual basis for [the quotes provided.]”

The board earlier this month approved a separate Whitmer recall petition over her COVID-19 actions from Chad Baase, an Albion man who’s currently on parole.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.