Flint mayor challenges signatures on recall petition

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FLINT (WJRT) - (07/31/17) - Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is challenging the recall petition to remove her from office.

The filing comes Monday, just hours before her deadline.

Around 3 p.m., someone representing Weaver filed the paperwork at the Genesee County Clerk's Office to challenge the recall against her.

She's fighting 1,200 signatures.

Genesee County Clerk John Gleason says her office received the petitions with 5,951 approved signatures about nine days ago. They were tasked with trying to find at least 202 invalid signatures to prevent the recall from going on the November ballot.

Both Gleason's and Flint City Clerk Inez Brown's offices already determined of the nearly 8,900 signatures originally turned in, about 1,900 of them were invalid.

The challenge Monday means Weaver's office believes there were more that needed to be removed. The challenge states a little over 900 signatures are invalid due to dates, addresses and lacking genuineness. The other 300 are being challenged because an expert forensic analysis says the information was not in the handwriting of the petition signer.

Arthur Woodson, who is behind the recall, will have a chance to fight their findings in circuit court. He says he does plan on doing that.

All of this has to be done by Aug. 4.

As these reviews are ongoing, several people who signed the petition are accusing Flint Police of harassment and intimidation.

They say Flint Police are going door-to-door to ask if and why they signed the recall petition.

Right now, Flint Police are already looking into complaints about the petitions that circulated. Some people who signed told police they felt duped because they were told the petition was for something different.

Now, people who have received knocks at their door say that's not a legal way for police to investigate.

"I have never heard of anything like this before," said Flint resident Ron Waugh.

He owns a few properties on Flint's south side. He says a few of his tenants called him one day because the police showed up to their doorstep, so he went over to check on them.

"They're scared they're gonna get hassled. They don't know what the repercussions are going to be, so they won't talk on camera," he said.

So, Waugh told us what happened.

"They just said they were police officers and wanted to know who I was. I told them. They wanted to know what business it was of mine. I said, 'Well I was the one who took the petition around to these people,'" he said. "And they wanted to know what my problem was with the mayor."

Waugh told them he doesn't agree with the mayor's actions.

"Just her whole thing was the water issue to get elected, granted she's trying, but to me not hard enough," he said.

Now, Waugh says his taxpayer money is being misused.

"Because when you call the police, you can't get them to come out anyway. If you get a break in, they may show up, they may not," he said. "I think it's wrong. I think it's just harassment."

As an election official and having received a dozen calls about this, the Genesee County Clerk agrees.

"That's kind of backwards. Typically, people call the cops, the cops don't call the people," Gleason said. "There's an awful lot of crime and I don't believe soliciting opinions on petitions ranks as a priority."

Woodson says he's filing a complaint with the State Police.

Flint Police explained all open criminal investigations reported to the department are investigated by police officers, adding "any other action would be inappropriate."

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(07/31/17) - Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has just hours left to challenge the signatures on recall petitions to remove her from office.

It's been 30 days since the signatures were filed with the clerk's office.

There has been no action from the mayor yet. We spoke with Genesee County clerk John Gleason and he says she has until 4:15 p.m.

Arthur Woodson turned in over 9,000 signatures 30 days ago to get the mayor out of office.

After Gleason's and Flint City Clerk Inez Brown's review, they determined 5,951 signatures were valid. Woodson only needed 5,750 to get the recall on the November ballot.

Now, it's up to Weaver's office to look at them and see if they think 202 more signatures are invalid - preventing the recall.

They'll hand over their proof Monday.

Gleason says knowing Weaver, he thinks it would be unusual if she didn't challenge.

If she challenges, Gleason's office will review Weaver's team's work. If they find enough invalid signatures to get the recall off the ballot, Woodson's team can challenge that.

We have reached out to the mayor's office for a comment on her plan, but have not heard back.

We'll continue following this process for you.



 
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