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Posted: Thursday, 14 August 2014 2:10PM

Berrien County To Appeal Judge's Recall Election Ruling



Berrien County has approved funds to appeal a judge's decision which allows the mayoral recall election to proceed in Benton Harbor. County Clerk Sharon Tyler doesn't need permission to file the appeal, but she does need money to do so. Commission Board Chairman Jon Hinkelman says he recently received a suggested amount to be put toward the appeal from Corporate Council Donna Howard.

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If litigation costs the county more than $20,000 County Administrator Bill Wolf says the board will have to approve any additional funds.

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Earlier this week Berrien County Judge John Dewane ruled to allow the recall election be placed on for November 4 ballot. County Clerk Sharon Tyler was "surprised" and didn't anticipate the ruling which qualified the recall based on the issue of duplicate signatures. She says the state of Michigan has encouraged her to request an Emergency Appeal. Tyler is not challenging the judicial findings of the evidence, she's rather worried about the inconsistency the ruling of law has created conserning the recall procedures and petitions. Dewane writes County Clerk Sharon Tyler's newly adopted practice of not counting the signatures of people who signed petition sheets more than once "violates the First Amendment rights" of the signer, petition sponsor, and the electors. The November 4 recall election pits Mayor James Hightower against City Commissioner Marcus Muhammad.

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