Republican leaders in the state Legislature announced Friday they are requesting lawmakers to return to Madison for an “extraordinary session” to amend election laws following a court ruling on special elections.
Assembly speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, delivered the joint announcement Friday after a Dane County judge ordered Gov. Scott Walker to hold special elections for two state Legislature seats which have been vacant since last year.
The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a group formed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, sued Walker’s administration in hopes of forcing special elections for those vacant seats.
Court orders Walker to call special elections in vacant state districtsAfter Gov. Scott Walker refused to call special elections for two state Legislative districts earlier this year, a Dane County Read…
However, in a joint statement, Vos and Fitzgerald supported Walker’s initial decision to not call for special elections and expressed their disagreement with the Dane County court ruling.
“It’s clear that little thought was given to the impact of the special elections ruling,” the statement read. “In essence, there will be two elections occurring simultaneously for the two offices. It will undoubtedly lead to voter confusion and electoral chaos.”
Holding special elections after the conclusion of the regular session would be a waste of both taxpayer dollars and local government resources, Vos said.
Gov. Walker shared Vos’s viewpoint in a statement Friday, calling it “senseless” to waste taxpayer money on special elections.
“Nomination papers for any special elections called now would circulate around the same time nomination papers circulate for the November elections,” Walker said. “It would be senseless to waste taxpayer money on special elections just weeks before voters go to the polls when the Legislature has concluded its business.”
Fitzgerald said GOP lawmakers are working on a bill which would change laws regarding special elections, as well as stop any from happening this year.
Democrats were quick to express their opposition to the proposed alterations.
State Senate Democratic leader, Sen. Jennifer Schilling, D-La Crosse, said in a statement Friday Gov. Walker and his fellow Republicans’ are focused on maintaining power.
“Gov. Walker and legislative Republican’s sole focus is maintaining their grip on power and once again they are changing the laws to ensure their control,” Shilling said. “They want to undercut our judicial system and deny thousands of Wisconsin families their constitutional right to equal representation.”
Shilling referred to the efforts to change electoral laws and prevent the court order from being implemented the as the “height of corruption and desperation.”
According to the court order, Walker has until mid-May to call the special elections in the two vacant districts. In accordance with the normal electoral calendar, both districts would be up for election again in November.