'Be warned': Ex-GOP director vows to lead recall effort against legislators who push through election bills

Jeff Timmer pic.jpg
Posted at 10:47 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 08:18:00-04

LANSING, Mich. — The outspoken former executive director of Michigan's Republican Party is vowing to lead recall efforts against state GOP legislators if they circumvent an eventual veto and push forward an election reform plan without bipartisan agreement.

More than three dozen bills targeting the election process are making their way through Michigan’s Capitol in a package being touted by Republican lawmakers as "commonsense" election reform. "Senate Republicans are committed to making it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said.

RELATED: Republicans propose dozens of election reforms, Secretary of State opposes bills

Democrats meanwhile are deriding the proposals, calling it an attempt at voter suppression, while arguing much of the plan makes it harder for people to vote.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson recently slammed the proposals as “un-American” and the CEOs of three dozen prominent Michigan companies recently denounced the legislative push in a joint letter.

RELATED: MI Secretary of State says elections bills are too restrictive

If the bills go on to pass both chambers of the legislature, Governor Whitmer's veto is inevitable, but the Michigan Republican Party says they have a plan to circumvent her veto through signatures.

If the party collects more than 340,000 signatures in a petition drive and brings it back to the legislature for approval, lawmakers can sign the law themselves with a simple majority, a process allowed by the Michigan Constitution.

“The party’s announced intent to present the legislature with signatures that bypass Governor Whitmer, making this a straight party line vote that changes Michigan's voter laws, that makes it more difficult to vote, that allows partisans of either side whoever controls the legislature to put their thumb on the scale when it comes to election results after future elections, that's wrong and Michigan shouldn't be moving in that direction,” Jeff Timmer told FOX 17.

Timmer, a former executive director of the Michigan GOP and now senior adviser to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, is vowing to lead recall efforts against Republican state lawmakers who proceed with plans to change voting laws on party lines.

“We want to send a message to legislators that people are serious about this. This isn't a game of incremental patty cake, we are ready to take out and force to a recall election ballot any legislator who votes to support these bills,” Timmer said.

The signatures of about 10% of registered voters in any given district is required to force a recall election.

“Getting those signatures can be guaranteed. It takes motive, which I have and it takes means, which is an energized group of supporters and money to pay for circulators and I can guarantee you I will have that,” Timmer added.

Timmer believes much of the 39 bill package is an unnecessary reaction to false claims about the 2020 election.

“They've created a rhetorical boogeyman here by pushing a false narrative, a big lie since the election, that there were problems and irregularities with the elections in Michigan, and to then now enact policy based on their own false narrative is not the way to go about this.” Timmer said.

On Wednesday, The Senate Elections Committee will hold their first hearing on the election reform package.

Senate Elections Committee Chair and former Secretary of State Ruth Johnson (R-Holly) says the legislation, "includes commonsense measures that will protect the integrity of our elections by safeguarding the right for people to vote and ensuring our elections are safe and secure.”