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Ypsilanti's 3rd Ward recall election is one week away

Voting Booths
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Voting Booths

In one week, Ypsilanti voters will take to the polls to decide a recall election. Democrat Desirae Simmons will face independent challenger Rod Johnson on the May 7th ballot.

Simmons' choice to abstain from voting to purchase a multi-million-dollar property to relocate the city’s public services yard is the driving force behind the recall effort. Simmons originally voted in-favor of purchasing the property. However, the purchase was ultimately voted down by the majority of council.

The citizens' group behind the recall effort says Simmons' inability to vote “no” on the purchase was financially irresponsible.

Independent Rod Johnson is running to unseat Simmons. Johnson says he supports many of the initiatives Ypsilanti City Council has pursued but wants more financial clarity to their plans.

“I think we still need to continue affordable housing and make sure we have enough housing. But at the same time, we have to make sure the developers understand our situation. We cannot just give tax breaks. It has to be a win-win."

Johnson cites the affordable housing projects at 206 N Washington and those on 845 and 945 Clark Road, as projects that do financially benefit the city because of the substantial tax breaks the projects received.

Simmons clarifies that the recall effort does not involve her ethics as a government official. Rather, it’s simply disagreement over her vote on the potential DPS property. Simmons affirms her actions on council are in line with the platform she was elected on.

“They’re trying to make it so that this is so unpleasant that not only do I not come back, but that someone like me never runs again. Because they don’t value the voice of the people that I represent.”

Simmons says that throughout the recall effort, she’s been overwhelmed by the support for her campaign from Ward 3 residents. Heading into Election Day, her top priority is clarifying confusion about recall procedures and her campaign.

“You must return your ballot. You must for the candidate you want to see finish this term. And so, it’s going to be a lot about turnout."

The recall campaign is the only item on the May 7th ballot.

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Taylor Bowie joined WEMU as a reporter in October 2023.
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