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One recall candidate rejected from ballot, triggers first election in Wisconsin on July 19

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June 27, 2011

By Geoff Pallay and Greg Janetka

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2011 Wisconsin Senate Recalls

Senators Facing Recall
Robert CowlesAlberta DarlingSheila HarsdorfDave HansenJim HolperinRandy HopperDan KapankeLuther OlsenRobert Wirch

Other Recall Information
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MADISON, Wisconsin: At a special meeting held today, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board removed John Nygren (R) from the recall ballot, ruling that he was two valid signatures short of the required 400. Nygren, who has served as a state assemblyman since 2007, turned in nominating papers with 424 signatures, but the Board found only 398 to be valid.[1]

Nygren did not file any correcting affidavits by Friday, as was required by GAB regulations. Additionally, there was no explanatory response for controversial signatures. Nygren’s response to the challenges did contain many affidavits and responses, but did not seemingly cover all of the challenges filed by the Democratic Party. GAB staff used google maps and their laptops to go one-by-one through many of the signature challenges during the meeting. Before the board officially voted to certify only 398 signatures, the attorney for Nygren argued that Nygren should still be certified because two signatures is so minute, and that the policy should be one of the utmost ballot access.

Nygren has vowed to further challenge the GAB decision. He can now appeal to circuit court.[2]

Meanwhile, the GAB quickly dismissed the challenges against Republican candidates Kim Simac, Robert Lussow and David VanderLeest, certifying them for the July 19 ballot.[3] The state Democratic Party filed challenges against the nominating petitions of all four candidates on June 24. Additionally, Nygren had a second challenge filed against him by Sarah Scott.[4] In each of their decisions today the Board followed recommendations made by GAB staff.[5]

The removal of Nygren sets up a cascading series of election dates for the nine senators facing recall. There will now be two recall primaries on July 19 and one actual recall election. The July 19 election date will have the following races for voters to decide upon at the polls:

District 12, Republican Primary

District 22, Republican Primary

District 30, Recall Election

The winner in the District 12 race will go on to face incumbent Jim Holperin (D) in the general recall election on August 16, while the winner in district 22 will take on Robert Wirch (D).

If Hansen wins the recall on July 19, that will could create momentum for the Democratic Party heading into the August 9 and 16 elections -- if VanderLeest unseats Hansen, the same effect would be felt by the Republican candidates.

Did You Know?
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board was created by the state legislature in 2007.

Absentee voting begins

In-person absentee voting began today in the six Democratic primaries scheduled for July 12. It will continue through July 8. In-person absentee voting for the two July 19 Republican primaries and the recall election between Hansen and VanderLeest will begin July 5 and go through July 15.[6]

See also