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State approves recall petition for Sheriff Rand

Posted at 10:18 AM, Nov 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 10:18:35-05

A man trying to get Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand removed from office can start asking voters to sign his recall petition.

The State Board of Canvassers approved it on Monday in Lansing.

Dean Schuette Sr. submitted the petitions. The board rejected his first three attempts because he put too much of his opinion into them, like when he called the sheriff a multi-faceted racist. Now, has just 60 days to collect more than 15,000 signatures to put the recall on the ballot.

"We will get it," he said.

There have been calls for Sheriff Rand to step down ever since he was heard making racist and sexist comments on audio recordings as part of a lawsuit against him. He's refusing to resign, leaving a recall as the most likely way to remove him from office. The chairman of the state Board of Canvassers says it was the petition's wording that finally got it approved.

"The law requires us to find the language both clear and factual. Factual is a black and white statement," Norm Shinkle said.

That factual statement given to justify the recall attempt is that the Jackson County Board of Commissioners asked Rand to resign on February 20th. The Sheriff didn't comply. With the recall petition approved, Schuette Sr. has 60 days to get 15,213 signatures. He told News 10 he already has a Facebook page and volunteers ready to start working.

"I guess I wasn't surprised, I was relieved. It was just frustrating. But I was happy to see they approved it and we will move on from here," Schuette said.

Schuette says he kept submitting the petitions because something needed to be done about Rand's conduct in office.

"I was a police officer for 30 years and Sheriff Rand has given the indication that all police officers are just like he is and that's just not true. They don't disparage people, they don't talk like this, they don't believe in these things," he added.

FOX 47 reached out to Sheriff Rand about the approval, he said he respects the political process and hasn't decided yet if he will appeal. He has ten days to do so.

In order for an election to happen before his term is up in 2020, the signatures need to be submitted by February 1st.

FOX 47 will continue to follow this story.