The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB), which oversees elections in the state, is seeking a timeline that would allow state Senate recall elections to be held on July 12 — consolidating many different recalls into one day.
As WisPolitics reports, the agency is asking a Dane County judge to give them an extension on the 31-day period that they have to review recall petitions:
The GAB argued the additional time was needed, in part, because of the demands now placed on the agency by the ongoing statewide recount in the Supreme Court race and the thousands of signatures filed against state senators so far.
It also points out in the filing recall elections by themselves are very rare in Wisconsin. To have eight going on at the same time is extraordinary.
“In addition, this number of simultaneous recalls has never occurred anywhere in the United States,” the Department of Justice points out in the brief.
Without such an extension/consolidation maneuver, it’s possible that recalls would take place over several weeks, going one at a time. Instead, the GAB’s request would put them on one day — a mega-recall day covering a quarter of the chamber.
The state Senate currently has a 19-14 Republican majority, with Democrats hoping to pick up three seats in recall elections and win a majority, in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation. In order to initiate a recall, signatures of at least 25 percent of the number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election, within the targeted district, must be collected in a 60-day window.
Also, while the GAB’s filing lists eight recalls that have been filed for review thus far, the number is actually set to grow to nine or more. Democrats are set to file signatures on Thursday against GOP state Sen. Rob Cowles, and have already filed recall signatures against five other Republicans: Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper, Luther Olsen, Sheila Harsdorf and Alberta Darling. Republicans have filed recall signatures against three Democrats: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch.
Under Wisconsin’s recall law, elected officials must have served at least one year of their term before being recalled — thus exempting the half of the Senate that was just elected in 2010. In addition, Dems have also declared their intention to recall Walker himself next year, when the one-year exemption runs out.