Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Recall elections expected for Cato, Belvidere townships in May 2023

STANTON — Recall elections are expected to be on the ballot next spring for three Cato Township officials as well as the Belvidere Township supervisor.

Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard, right, explains that recall efforts will likely proceed in May 2023 against three Cato Township Board members as well as the Belvidere Township supervisor while Montcalm County Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Q. Carr of Cato Township listens during Monday’s county board meeting. — DN Photo | Elisabeth Waldon

“We have two more recalls that will be taking place in May,” Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard announced during Monday’s Montcalm County Board of Commissioners meeting. “We are finishing up the process of checking about 1,700 signatures total. It appears there will be sufficient signatures so we will be moving forward with those.”

Jamie Snyder of Cato Township initiated recall efforts against Cato Township Supervisor Larry Gilbert, Clerk Todd Lincoln and Trustee Jourdan Lindsey after those three board members voted in August to approve a wind energy ordinance in that township.

According to Millard, 283 signatures were required for the recall effort against each of the board members, and 483 signatures were filed for Gilbert, 426 for Lindsey and 422 for Lincoln.

It appears by the numbers that more people signed Gilbert’s than the other two, and they did, but that is because there was a problem on the petitions that the printer originally gave the filer for Lindsey and Lincoln; therefore they had to start over on those two,” Millard told the Daily News.

Judith Spring of Belvedere Township initiated a recall effort against Belvidere Township Supervisor John Anderson after he and his fellow township board members voted in April to approve a wind energy ordinance in that township.

According to Millard, 227 signatures were required for the recall effort against Anderson, and 411 signatures were filed.

Belvidere Township voters in the Nov. 8 election shot down a solar energy ordinance by a margin of 61% to 38%

Next spring’s pending recall elections come on the heels of four recall elections in Montcalm County townships this year:

• SIDNEY TOWNSHIP: Erik Benko, the founder of Montcalm County Citizens United, a Facebook-based group “advocating against the irresponsible and invasive placement of industrial wind turbines and solar arrays in Montcalm County,” was elected to the Sidney Township Board in a recall this past May, ousting trustee Jed Welder who was recalled in a 63% to 32% margin related to that township’s wind ordinance.

• DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP: Supervisor Terry Anderson, Clerk Ronda Snyder and Trustee Tom Jeppesen were all recalled in the Nov. 8 election related in part to their votes and actions on a wind ordinance. Anderson lost to challenger Cynthia “Cindy” Shick by 46% to almost 54%, Snyder lost to challenger Holly Huff by almost 47% to 53% and Jeppesen lost to challenger Ken Bunting by almost 45% to 55%. Both township wind ordinances failed in November’s election too: The first one failed by 72% to 26% and the second one by nearly 73% to 27%. Township Board Trustee Pat Althoff previously lost his August primary election bid against challenger Eric Tester due in part to Althoff’s vote on the wind ordinance. 

• MAPLE VALLEY TOWNSHIP: Supervisor John Schwandt was recalled in the Nov. 8 election, losing to challenger Dan Boes by a margin of nearly 46% to 54%. Township voters also shot down a wind ordinance by 69% to nearly 31%. Clerk Cathy Benson and Trustee Ben Newell both lost their August primary election bids against their respective challengers Andi Knapp and Tim Thornhill.

• WINFIELD TOWNSHIP: Supervisor Phyllis Larson, Clerk Colleen Stebbins and Trustee John Black were all recalled in the Nov. 8 election related in part to their votes and actions on a wind ordinance. Larson lost to challenger Ryan VanSolkema by 47% to nearly 53%, Stebbins lost to challenger Ken Bloom by 49% to nearly 51% (a 20-vote difference) and Black lost to challenger Julia Potratz by nearly 49% to 51% (a 22-vote difference). Township voters also shot down a wind ordinance in November’s election by 67% to 32%.

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