Wisconsin senators challenge recall petitions

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February 14, 2012

By: Greg Janetka

 Four Republican senators targeted for recall 

MADISON, Wisconsin: Last Saturday marked the one year anniversary of Gov. Scott Walker's (R) announcement of a proposed budget bill that restricts collective bargaining for public workers. The legislation was the catalyst that led to last year's senate recalls as well as the current round.[1] While those opposed to the law met the anniversary with protests, four embattled Republican senators spent the week filing official challenges with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board against the recall petitions targeting them.

While all four - Van Wanggaard, Scott Fitzgerald, Terry Moulton and Pam Galloway - submitted challenges, only Fitzgerald challenged enough individual signatures that, if they were found to be invalid, would end the recall threat. The main argument for the senators, however, rests on a challenge to the size and shape of their districts. Through the once-a-decade redistricting process, the Republican majority drew up and quickly passed new districts last year. Under the legislation, the maps do not take effect until this fall, but Republicans are now arguing that the recalls should take place in the new districts.

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board previously rejected the argument and a federal trial regarding the matter is scheduled to begin on February 21. If it is decided that the recalls should take place in the new districts, then, according to Republicans, enough of the signatures would be thrown out as to end all the recalls as they came from residents who live in the old districts but not the new ones.[2]

GAB has until March 19 to schedule recall elections. Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) are also facing potential recalls. As they received copies of the petitions against them on different dates, they have until February 27 and March 5, respectively, to file challenges.

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