Elections staff in Wisconsin are recommending to trigger the recall elections against Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov Rebecca Kleefisch. A meeting on Friday will make it official.
In a press release Thursday afternoon, staff at the state Government Accountability Board, the non-partisan agency that oversees elections in Wisconsin, found valid signatures well in excess of the 540,208 signatures on petitions needed to hold the recalls. This follows an extended period that the GAB had in which to count the signatures, and also to set up an election calendar for the Spring.
The board staff found 931,053 raw signatures submitted to recall Walker — actually just a bit smaller than the state Democrats’ claims of over a million signatures, but still a figure that would guarantee the recall. When asked for comment on the discrepancy, state Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielisnki told TPM: “We submitted more than a million signatures, period. If the discrepancy put the recall in jeopardy, we would contest it. In this case, it doesn’t affect the outcome. This question is really for the GAB, not us.”
Zielinski also told us, on the staff’s general findings: “This was the greatest petition campaign in American history for a reason-Scott Walker’s radical overreach and abuse of power. Tomorrow will be a day for sober reflection on the work done and the great work left to do to restore Wisconsin’s values.”
Of these signatures, only 26,114 were struck by the staff for some sort of deficiency, and another 4,001 signatures were struck due to being duplicates from a person signing more than once. This left 900,938 validated signatures against Walker, or 67% more than required.
Against Kleefisch, for whom separate petitions were required, the GAB counted 842,854 raw signatures, minus 29,601 that were struck by staff, and 4,263 duplicates, for a total of 808,990 signatures, a buffer of 50%.
When asked for comment, state Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks told TPM:
“We have long anticipated that union activists would be able to rally their liberal base to force this baseless recall on Wisconsin families. Wisconsin voters are more than ready to combat these liberal union activists to protect the vote they cast in 2010, when they elected Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Kleefisch with an overwhelming majority. Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Kleefisch’s supporters are already hard at work making phone calls and knocking on doors out of the RPW’s Victory Centers in every corner of the state, and our army of grassroots volunteers only grows by the day. Wisconsin families have repeatedly shown they want to continue moving Wisconsin forward, away from the failed liberal policies of the previous administration.”
At a meeting three weeks ago, the board, which is made up of retired judges, voted to trigger recalls in four Republican-held state Senate seats, and also to set a timeline for the recalls that will have the primaries on May 8, and the general election on June 5.