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Wisconsin counties prepare for recalls

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June 30, 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
Recalls by YearRecall Law in WisconsinRecall laws in other statesRecalls in Wisconsin2011 Scott Walker Budget Repair BillProtests over Budget Repair BillWisconsin Government Accountability BoardRecall timelineElection Results

MADISON, Wisconsin: Clerks in the various counties holding recalls are preparing ballots for the July 12 and July 19 elections. With the impending legal challenge by John Nygren, Oconto County is printing about 2,000 paper ballots.

The GAB has informed counties to proceed as if Nygren will not be on the ballot. However, County Clerk Kim Pytleski said if any changes do occur, she does not anticipate any problems re-printing new ballots.[1]

One county -- Brown County -- is covered by both the 2nd and 30th districts. That means, the clerk has had to prepare ballots for primaries in both races on separate dates -- a more burdensome task than a standard election. Sandy Juno, chief deputy county clerk, said Brown County voters have started calling already with questions about when to vote.[1]

Counties had until Tuesday to make absentee ballots available to voters.[1]

Timeline following an election

According to spokesman Reid Magney, by law, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is required to certify election results within 18 days of any special election. When that is completed a certificate of election is issued, allowing the winner to be sworn in. If a challenger defeats the incumbent, the incumbent remains in office until the winner is sworn in.[2]

Thus, if an incumbent loses the August 9 recall election, the replacement might not be sworn-into office until August 27. Concurrently, if an incumbent loses the August 16 recall, the replacement would be required to be sworn-into office by September 3.

Pasch challenges Darling to debate

On Tuesday, state Assemblywoman Sandy Pasch (D) challenged District 8 Senator Alberta Darling (R) to a series of debates. Pasch has said she would like to have at least three debates. Darling's campaign has not yet responded to the challenge.[3]

Pasch is facing protest candidate Gladys Huber in the Democratic Primary on July 12.

Thus far the only debate of the recall campaigns took place on June 21 in District 12 between Sen. Jim Holperin (D) and challenger Robert Lussow (R). Kim Simac is also running for the seat, but was unable to attend the debate.[4]

Did You Know?
There were 731,031 total votes cast in the 2008 elections in the 9 recall districts.

Fundraising efforts

Fundraising efforts continue across Wisconsin as well as across the country. The national organization American Votes sent out a fundraising email to its supporters on Wednesday saying "Wisconsin workers lost their rights today. It’s unacceptable, and we cannot let it stand." It goes on to decry the use of "fake" Democrats in the races, saying "even the State GOP’s own Executive Director, Mark Jefferson is calling the move, 'a nasty, cynical ploy.'"[5]

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the quote from Jefferson was taken out of context. The newspaper reports that Jefferson's statement was made in July 2010, referring to the use of a "fake" candidate by Democrats in the race against Independent state Assemblyman Robert Ziegelbauer.[6]

Meanwhile, within the state, the organization Wisconsin Family Action sent out an email to its supporters last week asking them to donate in order to protect "pro-life, pro-family, pro-liberty legislators in the State Senate recall elections."[7] The group is also planning an ambitious campaign covering the six districts where Republicans are targeted. The campaign seeks to "Secure 2,000 absentee ballots," "Mobilize 500 churches," "Distribute 30,000 effective, well-researched, accurate Voter Guides," and "Turn out 20,000 values voters."[8]

Additionally, Wisconsin Right to Life issued a call for volunteers and donations, stating "No matter what you hear about the nine State Senate recall elections that will take place on August 9 and August 16, it’s really about the rights of the unborn."[9]

Much of the outside funding is a result of the "Citizens United" case, which has drawn criticism from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Mike McCabe, the group's executive director, said that the Citizens United Supreme Court case will have a dramatic impact on the recalls. "The candidates will be bystanders in their own elections," McCabe said.[10]

See also