Recalls in Wisconsin: awaiting word from the courts
By Geoff Pallay and Greg Janetka
MADISON, Wisconsin: Barring any successful legal challenges, it appears imminent that three primary races will take place on July 19 in Wisconsin, with recalls to follow on August 16.
Yesterday, all six candidates were shown to have more than the required 400 signatures to be on the ballot.
Any challenges to the candidates' petitions must be filed before 4:30 p.m. CST on Friday. The certification of the candidates means all three Democratic incumbents will not face recall until August 16. On July 19, three Republican primaries will take place instead. The candidates are:
Meanwhile, a hearing took place today in Dane County Circuit Court to address issues dealing with lawsuits concerning the recalls. Yesterday the state Department of Justice, on behalf of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, filed a motion to consolidate all of the cases into one. Attorney for the Republicans, Eric McLeod, voiced support for the move, while attorney for the Democrats, Jeremy Levinson, disagreed, saying it would slow down the process.
County and city clerks across the nine senate districts are busy preparing for the unprecedented recalls. Outagamie County Clerk Lori O'Bright said the unusual elections are raising lots of questions. Working on printing up ballots for the July 12 primary, she said she wants to make it clear to voters that only Democratic candidates will be on the primary ballot. The inclusion of "fake" Democratic candidates, as well as the Democratic "placeholder" candidates who have since dropped out of the recalls, has added confusion among voters.
Additionally, the new rules stemming from the voter ID bill signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker (R) on May 25 will be in play during the recalls, but only partially. Among other changes, the law requires voters to show photo identification when they go to the polls. For the recalls, however, it will only be in a "soft implemention" phase, where voters will be asked for photo ID, but not required to show one. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, as well as the League of Women Voters, are planning educational campaigns to inform the public.
Debate held in District 12
Last night Senator Jim Holperin (D) participated in a debate with Robert Lussow (R), who is aiming to combat Holperin in the recall election on August 16. Lussow, in order to face Holperin, will first face Kim Simac in a Republican Party primary on July 19.
The debate was held at Tomahawk High School, with the majority of time spent discussing education. Lussow supported the new collective bargaining law but voiced his opposition to the cuts to education in the recently-passed state budget. Meanwhile, Holperin defended his actions in fleeing the state during the collective bargaining bill negotiations.
Roughly 100 people were in attendance at the debate. However, Simac did not attend. "For whatever reason, she decided to decline," Lussow said. Kimac posted on her facebook page yesterday that she was unable to attend because she is running her horse camp and cannot commit to events during a two-week period.
Currently no further debates are planned, though there have been discussions of scheduling more.
|Did You Know?|
Only 38 states allow recall of elected officials, with only 18 of those states allowing recall of state legislators.
Republicans question Moore's emails
Stephan Thompson, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board yesterday, alleging Shelly Moore (D) intentionally used her public school email account to coordinate work related to her recall campaign against Sheila Harsdorf (R). Republicans released the emails in question, which they obtained through an open records request from the Ellsworth School District.
One of the emails, dated March 10, 2011, states, "We are not supposed to use school email, but since all of our rights are being taken away, I don't frankly care."
Thompson stated, "this abuse of taxpayer funded resources deserves a full investigation by the Government Accountability Board. If she feels she is above the laws of this state, she certainly has no business having a hand in creating them."
Democratic Party press secretary Gillian Moore called the complaint a "blatantly political stunt," saying, "Shelly was absolutely not using taxpayer dollars for campaign purposes -- no campaign even existed when these emails were sent."
- Recall of Wisconsin State Senators (2011)
- Wisconsin State Senate
- Laws governing recall in Wisconsin
- Redistricting in Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "List of all candidates as of 5:49pm CST, June 21, 2011 (dead link)
- Channel 3000, "Hearings Scheduled Related To Wisconsin Recalls," June 22, 2011
- Channel 3000, "DOJ Files Motion To Consolidate Recall Cases," June 21, 2011
- FOX 11, "County, city clerks prep for recalls," June 20, 2011
- Wisconsin State Journal, "Election officials wary as Walker signs voter ID bill into law," May 25, 2011
- The Capitol Times, "New residency rules will be in place for recall elections," May 20, 2011
- ‘'WAOW "Holperin and Lussow face off in education forum," June 20, 2011
- Kim Simac for Senate Facebook page, "Post on June 21, 2011"
- Wisconsin GOP "Submitted Complaint to GAB on June 22, 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Republicans call for probe into recall candidate's emails," June 22, 2011
- Hudson Patch, "Wisconsin GOP Files Complaint Alleging Shelly Moore Used State Resources to Coordinate Recall, Campaign," June 22, 2011