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Debunking the Republican-Led Recall of Reggie Miller


By Steven Meyer


The bipartisan Michigan Board of State Canvassers held two hearings in August to review the clarity and factuality of Republican-led recall petitions against Democratic State Representatives (1, 2). In addition to the petitions against Reggie Miller of Monroe (HD-31), three other identical recall petitions were filed against Jaime Churches (HD-27), Jennifer Conlin (HD-48), and Noah Arbit (HD-20). All four officials are serving in their first elected terms and were elected in 2022 in closely competitive districts. On August 1, the Board rejected all four petitions for insufficient clarity (3). That same day, petitions were resubmitted against Conlin and Miller. A later identical petition was resubmitted against Arbit (4). None have been resubmitted against Churches. The petition that was resubmitted against Reggie Miller was withdrawn before the Board’s August 21 meeting (5).


At the August 1 hearing Attorney Mark Brewer spoke on behalf of the Democratic Representatives. Brewer explained some legal problems with the petitions, “The Campaign Finance Act clearly requires a disclaimer be placed on any recall petition in the State... On none of these petitions is there a disclaimer... On every one of these petitions, the handwriting of the so-called, ‘sponsor’ – and I use that in quotes – The ‘sponsor’ doesn’t match the handwriting of the reasons stated... So it appears that all six of these petitions were ghost-written by a single person. We believe a gentleman named Frank Tarnowski who has told the Bureau that he’s the contact person for at least four of the six petitions. He in fact – we believe – is the real sponsor of these petitions.” Those issues are outside of the role of the Board to review, but Brewer also discussed the factual and clarity problems with the petitions (1). Brewer did not mention, and I have not seen it reported anywhere that Frank Tarnowski formed his own Campaign Committee in May to run against Jaime Churches in HD-27 (6).


The recall petitions are not easily accessible to the public, so I submitted a FOIA request (Freedom of Information Act) to the Michigan Department of State to see for myself both the handwriting issues that Mark Brewer described, and the revised petitions from August. When I received those records, I observed an unreported issue on the petitions against Miller which used the same photo scan attachments as the petitions against Jennifer Conlin. Both of the petitions against Reggie Miller had a photo scanned page from the June 20, 2023 Journal of the House, showing the Roll Call “Yeas” Votes on HB 4474 with a handwritten checkmark next to Conlin’s name, not Miller’s name. That was further proof of the undisclosed coordination between the petition sponsors (7).


I have not found any public comment from Holli Vallade about the reasons for withdrawing the petition against Miller. Holli Vallade finally deactivated the fundraising portal on her campaign website which had stayed up for nearly a year after her campaign committee was officially dissolved, after I noted the portal had still been active in last month’s newsletter (8, 9).


Michigan’s legislators should not be discouraged from passing HB 4474 due to any of that recall nonsense. Until that bill passes, Michigan’s hate crime laws remain deficient compared to most other states’ laws, and of federal laws to protect people most targeted by hate crimes because of their Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Disability. The federal government has more legal protection against hate crimes for people in Michigan than our own state laws do. The US Justice Department has a table that compares all 50 state hate crime laws to federal laws (10). That table shows the states that most closely match Michigan’s current hate crime laws are Mississippi and West Virginia. HB 4474 would simply bring Michigan state laws up to the minimum standards of the federal hate crime laws. Again, why would anyone but hate criminals oppose the passage of that bill?


  1. August 1, 2023 - Michigan Board of State Canvassers Hearing -

  2. August 21, 2023 - Michigan Board of State Canvassers Hearing -

  3. August 1, 2023 – Mlive Article: “7 ‘ghost’ recall petitions against Michigan lawmakers rejected; 1 approved” -

  4. August 9, 2023 – Michigan Advance Article: “Four previously rejected recall petitions for Michigan lawmakers refiled” -

  5. August 21, 2023 – Official Board of State Canvassers Meeting Agenda, which shows the Recall Petition Against Reggie Miller had been withdrawn -

  6. May 2, 2023 – Official Statement of Organization for Committee to Elect Frank Tarnowski -

  7. August 29, 2023 – FOIA Records received from Michigan Department of State (FOIA submitted on August 10)

  8. August 2023  – Monroe County Democratic Party Newsletter, article: “Debunking the Republican-Led Recall of Reggie Miller” -

  9. Holli Vallade Campaign Donation Site finally deactivated:

  10. U.S. Department of Justice Table Showing Which States Have Hate Crime Laws Consistent with Federally Protected Groups of People. – The Table Shows that Michigan Does Not Have State Laws to protect people from Hate Crimes against Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Disability (Updated July 21, 2023) -

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