The recall of four prominent Republican Wisconsin State Senators has become an interesting political battle in recent days. Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Sen. Van Wanggard (R-Racine), Sen. Jerry Moulton (R-Eau Claire), and Sen. Pam Galloway (R-Wausau), have turned in their challenges to some of the signatures on the recall petitions to Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board. The two largest groups of signatures in the challenges include two key issues: redistricting (involving Wisconsin Act . 43) and the dates of and certification of the recall petitions by the circulators.
Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, Wisconsin, Senate Majority Leader, has challenged 10,600 of the 20,650 signatures on the recall petitions, and the number of signatures needed to go through with the recall election for Sen. Fitzgerald is 16,742 signatures of eligible electors. By far the largest group of these challenged recall signatures is the 5,944 signatures that Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald says are not eligible voters, in his 13th District. Nearly all of these voters were eligible voters in the general election when Fitzgerald and the other Senators won their elections, but they now want to exclude them as eligible voters on the recall petitions, because of the remapping of the senators’ districts’ in Act 43.
What is interesting about this issue is that the redistricting Act 43, was voted for by the four Republican senators up for recall, and signed by Gov. Walker. According to the act itself, redistricting is not supposed to take effect until the November 2012 elections. Therefore, the closer to November’s elections, the more likely this issue will affect the recall elections. The GOP has even threatened to sue the Government Accountability Board (GAB), to ensure that their crafty political maneuvering does affect the recall efforts.
In a phone call, Reid Magney the public information officer for the GAB said: “any recall done before November 2012 will use the old districting maps, by law, and not use the new ones, unless ordered to by a judge.” According to the Communications Director of the Democratic State Senate Committee, Brad Wojeckowski, “the GOP basically wants to sue themselves over the redistricting, so that the maps would not start in November 2012, as stated in the law, but the maps should be applied for the recall election.”
Ironically, the special election to fill the vacancy in the 95th assembly District, was ordered by Gov. Walker on September 2, 2011, to be conducted under the old district lines before Act 43, starts in November 2012. Numerous calls were placed to the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, to get a comment on this inconsistency, but the calls were never returned.
The other main issues concern signatures that were done, according to the challengers of the recall petitions, either before or after the certification of the petitions by the circulators through the Government Accountibility Board. As was reported widely in the press, there were many “midnight pajama parties” that started at midnight on the first day that recall petitions could be legitimately signed, November, 15, 2011. According to the rebuttal affidavit filed with the GAB: “the challengers demand that whole swaths of signatures be stricken because they speculate that some may have been on November 15, prior to when the GAB was able to process the recall committees’ registration forms.”
The challengers, provide no discernible evidence to strike the signatures, and base their opposition strictly on the fact that these parties occurred. They therefore want to strike all the names on November 15, 2011, just in case the petitions were signed at these early morning parties. But according to the law, the signatures done on the day of the certification, in this case, November 15, 2011, are legitimate.
The rebuttal affidavit to the recall challenges, sums up the facts of this issue, thusly: “among the people of Earth, it was found necessary to divide times into discernible units, e.g., years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and so forth. This permits communication about defined amounts of time in all manner of affairs, including the establishment of statutory deadlines and time periods in which acts may or must be done. In this regard, the statues, most typically deal in the units of time, known as days.”
Many calls were placed to Senate majority leader Fitzgerald’s office for comment on this story. Days later, Andrew Welhouse, the press spokesman for Sen. Fitzgerald had this terse comment: “it is illegal to talk politics out of a legislative office in Wisconsin, because we have ethics laws in Wisconsin.”
Politics? Politics indeed.
https://egis.wisconsin.gov/2011/data/votes/sv0239.pdf Votes on Act 43