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Local activist and lawyer continue the recall fight against Lansing Councilman Brandon Betz

Posted at 10:47 AM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 10:47:36-05

LANSING, Mich. — The fight to recall Lansing City Council Member Brandon Betz isn't over. Late last week a local lawyer filed a suit against the Ingham County Election Commission over issues in a previously filed petition to recall Betz from the city council.

“There are a lot of activists who want to get involved specifically in the signature collection," said Undra Brown who is spearheading one of the recall petitions. "A lot of community members want to get involved there as well. It's a movement that the people of the First Ward have come together. We've really united to get this done. We want to see change.”

Brown, alongside Elizabeth Abdnour filed two complaints against the County Board of Commissioners and the Ingham County Election Commission.

“Brendan's conduct, as Peter Spadafore said it's unbecoming of a Lansing council member, and I second that," Brown said. "I think that message really resonates with people here in the First Ward. It's not only his conduct, but we can't trust him as a politician. He's flip flopped on his entire campaign platform. He has done things he promised the ward he would not do. So we don't trust him.”

Back in February Betz sent mocking messages to Black activist Michael Lynn Jr. after an apparent falling out with the Lansing chapter of Black Lives Matter. In recent months petitions filed by Brown were rejected by the County Election Commission.

“The Ingham County viewed that reasoning that I didn't live in the First Ward as a technicality to throw the language out," Brown said. "She also hinted that she didn't really know the law and what happens that Secretary of state.. So I was a little frustrated, but they're just delaying because they don't want us to recall Brandon, and it's the people's right. And so it will happen. Even if we have to submit new language every single day to force the Election Commission, to meet every single day, we will.”

Abdnour a lawyer who also lives in Ward 1 says this issue is important because it's highlighting issues of government transparency. She says, "I believe the Ingham County Election Commission is overstepping its bounds in trying to limit the power of the electorate. By wrongly denying my petition, they denied me access to an important accountability tool for my elected officials, and I don’t want them doing this to others."

In response Betz said in a statement Sunday that he, "“trusts the professionalism of the Ingham county Elections Committee and their absolute commitment to adhering to state law governing recall elections.”

Betz has been stripped of his committee assignments but says he's still working on the issues facing Lansing like a resolution he plans to introduce in the new year. In it he plans to reiterate the Council's support of the police department and call on the mayor to reduce gun violence.

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