Wisconsin Democrats have announced they will submit the petition signatures in their effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker next Tuesday, January 17 — with a massive drop-off of boxes at the state’s election administration agency, the Government Accountability Board:
Julie Wells, the Janesville grandmother and factory worker who triggered the recall, will be joined by volunteers from Wisconsin’s 72 counties, who will load scores of boxes from a truck dubbed the “Forward Flyer” into GAB offices.
Also present and available to the media will be representatives from the recall efforts against four Republican senators.
Back in mid-December, the Dems announced that they had collected over 507,000 signatures in 30 days, getting very close to the legal threshold of just over 540,000 signatures in 60 days. (They are also working towards a goal of 720,000 total, in order to have an absolute buffer against disqualifications.) The party also told TPM at the time that this 507,000 figure takes into account also own efforts to weed out bad signatures.
The party has since said that beyond that mid-December update, they will be making no further official claims of signature counts before they actually turn in the papers.
Still, it does seem safe to say the Democrats would not have made the announcement without being confident of having the signatures. (It’s hard to imagine a big drop-off event that doesn’t have enough boxes.) So TPM asked Dem spokesman Graeme Zielinski: Is this announcement of the big petition-drop event tantamount to a confirmation that they do have the numbers?
“No, not at all. We believe that the whole process has been a victory for the people of Wisconsin because it’s focused in on what Scott Walker is doing. We’re not gonna comment on any number until the day-of,” said Zielinski.
He also added: “But fundamentally the entire effort has changed the dynamic here in Wisconsin. You see Scott Walker is having to talk about jobs, having to pretend he cares about education. He has changed his tune significantly. The kind of braggadocio of the early days when he ragged about no compromising, when he bragged about ramming stuff through, is gone.”
Zielinski did also say: “We fully anticipate that we will be able to succeed in triggering the recall — I don’t want to exude anything but confidence. However, we have never taken this for granted. There’s a reason this has never been done before in Wisconsin history: Because it’s difficult.”
Meanwhile, Mary Spicuzza of the Wisconsin State Journal reports that the GAB is expecting to receive a total of 1.5 million signatures for the multiple recalls against Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and four Republican state Senators.
And the GAB is also preparing some detailed security and chain-of-custody procedures:
Elections officials say recall petitions will be processed in a locked facility with security gates, surveillance cameras & police.