The Government Accountability Board requested an additional two weeks to complete the review of the signatures supporting the recall of Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican senators, despite also announcing the likelihood of denying the senators’ challenges.
A statement from the GAB’s petition review staff said they would not be able to finish the reviewing of the 1.9 million signatures by March 19. They are requesting the deadline be moved to March 30, which would result in the primary for Walker’s recall election on May 15, with the general election slated for June 12. These extensions require a judge’s approval.
The statement from the GAB also said the staff recommended the board dismiss challenges from the four Republican senators to the petitions, which, if the board dismisses them, would officially trigger recall elections for the senators.
Republican Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, Sen. Van Wangaard, R-Racine, Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls and Sen. Pam Galloway, R-Wausau, previously filed challenges questioning the validity of the recall petitions filed against them, claiming the signatures were improperly collected.
The GAB plans to further address the details around the complaints of the four Senate recall petitions and other recall petition issues in a Monday meeting.
Erin Sievert, spokesperson for the Committee to Elect Lori Compas, a recall campaign against Fitzgerald, said she is pleased but not surprised by the development.
“We knew right away that the challenges presented by Senator Fitzgerald were pretty weak, and that all of the signatures that we collected were collected in good faith,” Sievert said. “The senator was just throwing everything at the wall to see if something sticks.”
Republican Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Ben Sparks said in a statement that a statewide recall election would come as a significant burden to the state and to local governments throughout Wisconsin, with one statewide recall election costing more than $9 million, not including the cost of a primary.
The statement also urged the board to continue its efforts to ensure that these recall elections are held on the same date to reduce the growing burden and cost to Wisconsin taxpayers.
Scot Ross, spokesperson for Kathleen Falk’s gubernatorial campaign, said Falk is adamantly against extending the delay in the recall, because it is “unjust and unnecessary.”
Ross said the campaign is concerned the delay would result in the disenfranchisement of thousands of Wisconsin facing difficulties relating to residency requirements made by Walker’s “voter suppression bill.”
A statement from Falk’s campaign released on Friday said the delay would deny the will of the more than one million people who have followed the letter of the law to hold this election now.
The campaign said they will pursue any and all means available to ensure Wisconsin’s university students are not “disenfranchised by this unjustified and unnecessary delay.”
Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Graeme Zielinski said moving back the deadline is “absolutely ridiculous.” He said he cannot understand how they continue to request more time for less work.
“At this point, dragging this out is only doing Walker’s bidding,” Zielinski said. “The law is the law. You cannot just make things up as you go along.”