Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How the Recall in Wisconsin Works (and an update on the effort)

It's easy to forget about news stories as soon as the media's fickle attention is on something else. The situation in Wisconsin is a perfect example of this, but the effort to recall GOP senators is still underway and it's perfect time for an update.

From what I've read there are a few different rules/parts to a recall in Wisconsin:

1. An official must be in office for one year before they can be recalled. This is why eight different GOP senators are being targeted for recall. The remaining Republican Senators, and Scott Walker, won’t be eligible for recall until January 2012. Three Democratic Senators are also being targeted for fleeing the state (by different groups).

2. Once the initial recall paperwork is filed, they have 60 days to collect the required amount of signatures (which is 25% of the number of all votes cast for governor in the incumbent’s district in the last gubernatorial election apparently).

3. After the signatures are collected, they're filed with the Government Accountability Board. The board then validates the signatures and makes sure the required amount has been collected. According to Reid Magney, the board's spokesperson, this means they make sure each name has a signature and an address.

4. At a special hearing, the Government Accountability Board hears any challenges to the signatures and decides on each petition's "sufficiency" (all of the recalls have been challenged). If a petition is found to be sufficient, the recall goes ahead. The GAB usually has 31 days after the petition is filed to do this, but since there are so many different petitions they were awarded an extension by a Dane County judge. The hearing for eight different petitions (5 Republicans and 3 Democrats) is scheduled for May 23 and May 31.

5. If a recall petition is found to be sufficient by the GAB, then a recall election is called. The incumbent is automatically placed on the ballot (unless they file within 10 days that they do not want to be on the ballot) along with any candidate that qualifies to oppose the incumbent. The recall election for these petitions would be on July 12th.

So it looks like things are moving ahead quite nicely. Of course there's always the possibility the GOP could win the recall elections and even gain three seats if all three challenged Democrats are recalled, but I'm holding out hope that won't happen.

Some links:

Recall the 8 Wisconsin Republican Senators
Government Accountability Board's Recall Election Information
WisPolitics Election Blog
Scott Walker Watch


  1. I'm really glad you write about this stuff because it's way more than I'd be able to keep track of or research on my own. I think you'd make a great journalist.

  2. Aw thanks you! From your lips! :)

  3. I have no idea why that 's' snuck its way in there. I guess I just have lots of thanks! lol


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