6 GOP recall elections set for July 12, deadline for review of Democratic recalls extended
By Greg Janetka
MADISON, Wisconsin: Today Dane County Judge John Markson gave the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board a one-week extension to finish reviewing the three remaining recall petitions against Democratic state senators. The deadline, which was set to expire today, has been pushed back to June 10.
Markson also ruled that the six recalls against Republicans, which have already been reviewed by the GAB, should be immediately certified, setting up the elections to take place on July 12. If the remaining three Democratic incumbent recalls are certified at a GAB meeting on June 8, then these elections would be scheduled for July 19.
The Board was originally slated to hear challenges to six petitions on May 31, but announced that they would be unable to consider the recall petitions for Democratic incumbents Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch due to "numerous factual and legal issues." In a statement they said more time would be necessary in order to ensure a complete record is available for examination.
Republicans were angered by the decision, saying the challenges by Democrats were designed to "confuse and delay." Michael Screnock, attorney for the Republicans, argued in court that the GAB should have known earlier that more time would be needed, and that they also should have gone in order, which would have put Robert Cowles and Alberta Darling last. Additionally, he said that the GOP senators based their decisions on the original June 3 deadline, and an extension was unfair to them. Judge Markson ruled that there was good cause for the extension, and that the GAB did not violate any rules by taking up the petitions out of order.
However, the certainty of July 12 and July 19 election dates still remains unclear. There are pending lawsuits filed by GOP incumbents that, if history is any indication, could end up pushing back the election dates. Attorneys for Dan Kapanke, Luther Olsen, and Randy Hopper filed petitions to stop the recalls against them on May 31. Hearings have not yet been scheduled for those cases.
Additionally, if the Democratic recalls are certified, there are currently multiple candidates positioned to oppose them. That would trigger a primary on July 19, with the recall date ultimately set for August 16.
Another step is cleared, but Wisconsinites are likely still a long way from heading to the polls.
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Recall Status Update: Extension Granted, Elections Proceed," June 3, 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Review of recall petitions going slowly; July 12 election in doubt," May 27, 2011
- NewsTimes, "Wis. judge grants week extension for recall review," June 3, 2011
- NBC 15, "UPDATE: Judge Grants Week Extension for Recall Review," June 3, 2011