Flint, MI—The Genesee County Election Commission voted not to approve the recall language against two Flint city council members—because of the punctuation.

On Sept. 28, 2020, paperwork was filed against the 3rd Ward Representative Councilman Santino Guerra and two days later paperwork was filed against 2nd Ward Representative Councilman Maurice Davis.

Flint resident, Richard Jones, submitted the recall paperwork against Guerra for voting “No to override the Mayor’s veto  to Resolution 200361 (Resolution resolving that the Flint City Council Wishes to do all things necessary to immediately release the funding being withheld by the City to pay WT Stevens per its contract for water service line services).”

Another Flint resident, Audrey Muhammad, filed the paperwork against Davis on Sept. 30, 2020.

Flint City Counilman Maurice Davis pictured to the right of Councilman Eric Mays. Davis along with three other city councilmembers are facing a potential recall. (Mark Felix | Flint Beat)

The reason for the recall was that “On Monday, August 26, 2019 Second Ward Councilman Maurice Davis in A SPECIAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE Meeting (voted NO to issue a subpoena to Chief Advisor & Outreach Development Liaison Aonie Gilcreast.)”

The election commission voted that the use of parentheses in the languages of both of the recalls made them “confusing.”

Genesee County Clerk John Gleason disagreed with this vote as it pertained to the language against Guerra.

“The language on the petition is identical to the motion in the minutes of the City Council,” he said. “The parentheses are there. It’s word for word.”

He added that the language presented to the election commission “isn’t the language that’s going to go on the ballot.”

“This is just evidence whether we should move forward or not, and I believe when you have exact language of the motion including the parentheses…I don’t know where we have anywhere else to go,” Gleason said.

Treasurer Deb Cherry made both motions to not approve the language in either recall paperwork and said it was because she thought “the parentheses is confusing.”

Gleason did support rejecting the language against Davis.

“This is the language that comes before us, as a council to determine whether it’s factual or not, and I don’t believe this is factual because of the portion that’s in the parentheses,” he said. 

Arthur Woodson filed recall paperwork against Davis last year for the same reason and the language was approved. 

“How can they approve the language and then turn around and not approve the language? It doesn’t make any sense,” Woodson said. “They do what they wanna do. I like to see elected officials do what’s right. That wasn’t right.” 

Jones said when the meeting started, “it seemed like their goal was not to pass it.”

“They didn’t even give me a chance to speak…I am politically correct according to the charter,” he said.

Jones said he plans to appeal the decision and “demand that they listen.” 

Language was also filed against Councilman Allan Griggs on Sept. 16 because he “voted Aye to appoint Lynn Sorenson to a three-year term on the Flint Planning Commission.” 

The election commission rejected that language too, deciding that the language would be unclear to the average voter, and that it should say Griggs voted “yes” rather than “aye.”

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...