STANTON — A Sidney Township planning commissioner in his third attempt finally saw a recall wording petition approved against a Sidney Township Board member on Friday.
Jeffrey Lodholtz of Sidney Township initially filed a recall petition against Jed Welder on Sept. 27. The Montcalm County Election Commission denied that language on Oct. 8 due to lack of clarity.
Lodholtz filed two more recall petitions against Welder on Oct. 15. The Election Commission denied that language as well on Oct. 27.
Lodholtz filed three more recall petitions against Welder on Nov. 1, all of which were related to Sidney Township’s wind energy ordinance. The Election Commission — which is comprised of Montcalm County Probate Court Judge Charles “Tad” Simon III, Clerk Kristen Millard and Treasurer JoAnne Vukin — met on Friday and voted 3-0 to approve one of the three new petitions.
The wording that was approved states: “On July 5, 2021, Sidney Township Trustee Jed Welder voted nay on the Sidney Township wind energy ordinance No. 2021-01.”
Welder and his attorney, Crystal Morgan of Spring Lake, didn’t contest the wording of the approved petition. They did contest the wording of the two other petitions filed by Lodholtz, both of which were denied by the Election Commission.
Lodholtz presented multiple Daily News articles containing coverage of Sidney Township Board meetings as part of his supporting arguments along with his recall language petitions. Vukin voiced concern about the accuracy of the newspaper articles (despite accuracy in reporting being the newspaper’s literal goal every day).
“The other thing that I really struggle with is submitting newspaper articles with an indication that that’s what was said,” Vukin said. “To me, that’s hearsay. I personally don’t put a lot of stock into what a newspaper says. That’s why I would never use a newspaper article.”
As Friday’s hearing concluded, Millard explained the next steps in the recall process. She said Welder has until Nov. 22 to file an appeal in Montcalm County Circuit Court, if he wishes.
The approved recall wording is only good for 180 days (until May 11). A total of 274 valid signatures of registered voters in Sidney Township must now be collected via petition, and once the first signature is collected, a 60-day window is underway. Signatures can be collected for a total of 180 days, but Millard will only review signatures that were gathered within the most recent 60-day window.
Recall elections can only be held in May or November. The filing deadline for the May 2022 election is Jan. 28, 2022.