Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) suffered a crushing defeat in court this week as she failed to stop a series of recall petitions filed against her after the state Board of Canvassers approved them.
Whitmer had tried to appeal the approval of seven petitions against her and Lieutenant Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D), but the appeals court rejected every one of her arguments. Michigan law states that the Canvassers judge a petition’s language and presentation for clarity and factual accuracy.
One of the petitions, which was filed by James Makowski, claimed that Whitmer should be recalled because “Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020–143 on July 1, 2020 closing indoor service at bars.” Though Whitmer argued that “bars” was an ambiguous and undefined term, the court ruled that the petition actually used the exact same language as she did.
“The Governor maintains that where “electors are left to guess at [the] type of ‘bar’ the [p]etition refers to, the [p]etition lack[s] sufficient clarity and is noncompliant with the Michigan Election Law.” We reject this argument. Any person invited to sign the petition would very likely envision a reference to a conventional tavern, where people can purchase and consume alcoholic beverages, when faced with the wording, “closing indoor service at bars.” This is particularly so when the word is taken in context, used as it is in connection with the related terms “nightclubs” and “restaurants,” strongly suggesting that the term “bars” refers to an establishment, like a nightclub and like many restaurants, that serves alcoholic beverages.
Another case stated, “The Governor argues that where she was only identified by name and title in the petition form where it called for that information, but [the petitioner] did not repeat her name and title within the wording of the reason for the recall, the petition should have been invalidated.”
“We reject this argument as it is unpersuasive,” the court ruled.
A spokesperson for Whitmer told Daily Wire, “We plan to appeal this disappointing decision and we fully intend to beat back these irresponsible partisan attacks against the Governor in the courts, on the streets, or at the ballot.”
The spokesperson added that the effort was “part of a massive and coordinated attack by Republicans,” despite the Board of Canvassers being appointed by Whitmer.