Southwest Michigan Today: Friday May 4, 2018

May 4, 2018

Organizers did not get enough signatures to force a recall of Branch County's prosecutor. Governor Snyder signs legislation making it more difficult to request an election recount. A former Kalamazoo County Sheriff and a former state lawmaker from Saugatuck have passed away. 

Branch County’s prosecutor won’t face a recall election. MLive says organizers of a petition drive to oust Ralph Kimble, Junior, didn’t get enough signatures. About 2,800 signatures were needed to get on the ballot but organizers say they got only about 500. Kimble has come under fire for what some say is inappropriate conduct and creating a hostile work environment in his office and the county courthouse. Earlier this year, Branch County judges ordered Kimble to stay out of some parts of the court building unless he gets permission in advance. He was also ordered to stay away from female court employees.

Former state lawmaker Patty Birkholz has died. The Republican from Saugatuck served six years in the state House and then eight in the state Senate. After her time in the Legislature, Birkholz served as director of the Office of the Great Lakes under Governor Rick Snyder. Mlive reports that Birkholz died Thursday after a recurrence of cancer. She was 74 years old.

A new law makes it tougher and more expensive for losing candidates to demand a recount of election results. Governor Rick Snyder signed the new law Thursday. The law is a response to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein calling a recount of Michigan’s 2016 election results. She demanded the recount even though she got less than 1 percent of the vote. The Stein campaign paid the state $380,000 for a partial recount – because it was stopped by a judge before it was completed. Stein said she knew she couldn’t win, but wanted to test the reliability of Michigan’s vote tallies. The new law says a candidate has to have a “reasonable belief” they might emerge the winner if there’s a recount. And it would increase the cost from $125 a precinct to $250.

Former Kalamazoo County Sheriff Clyde Garvin has died. He served as Sheriff from 1977 to 1984. The Kalamazoo Gazette says Garvin passed away on Monday in Lexington, Kentucky. He was born in Kentucky, and moved back there after retiring as sheriff in 1984. Garvin was 96 years old.