Inman recall group files appeal after state chucked petitions

    Voters Not Politicians protest of Rep. Larry Inman, Traverse City | VNP photo

    Disgruntled constituents of state Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) hope to take another shot at recalling the indicted lawmaker, who heads to trial in federal court on Tuesday morning.

    The effort to recall Inman, who stands accused of attempted bribery, extortion and lying to federal officials, filed an appeal Monday to the state’s Court of Appeals. The move comes just days after the state Bureau of Elections invalidated almost 14,000 signatures due to typos in the petition language. 

    “The recall effort has been an enormous lift for our community and a complex process,” Kaitlyn Flynn, campaign manager for the Recall Larry Inman campaign, said in a statement. “Human error is unavoidable. The bottom line is that meaningless typos should not silence the voices of nearly 14,000 voters.”

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    In a court filing Monday, Michael Naughton, an attorney for the recall effort, wrote that the typo cited by the state — a missing word — was the result of a printing mishap and did nothing to change the overall content of the recall petition. 

    “Plaintiffs are not aware of any person who signed the petition who was aware of nor confused by the two typographical errors, and neither the Bureau nor Mr. Inman have indicated that either typo created confusion, mislead signors, or resulted in any prejudice to Rep. Inman or others,” Naughton wrote. 

    The recall effort began after Inman was indicted this summer on allegations that he sought campaign contributions in exchange for a “no” vote on the repeal of a union wage issue. 

    Inman has maintained his innocence and resisted calls to resign. He missed dozens of votes in the state House following the indictment as he sought addiction treatment. 

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    The recall effort has said that Inman has been unable to properly represent the Grand Traverse County district as a result. 

    “We are continuing to fight to ensure that Grand Traverse County has representation in Lansing,” Flynn said. “Our committee had one purpose: to bring representation back to the people of the 104th district. This decision invalidating the signatures on a harmless technicality broadens the need to fight for citizens everywhere in Michigan to protect their constitutional right to recall an elected official.”

    Nick Manes
    Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.