Wisconsin election officials were given 11 more days to review petitions seeking the recall of Gov. Scott Walker, according to a copy of an agreement provided by the state attorney general’s office.
Walker, a first-term Republican, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and four state senators, including Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, are the targets of the recall drive started over Walker's curtailing public employee collective bargaining rights last year.
Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board sought an extension of the March 19 deadline so it could complete its review of petition signatures.
“The board will meet March 30 to certify the results,” said Reid Magney, a board spokesman.
If the board, which administers state elections, finds a sufficient number of valid signatures have been collected, there would be a primary election on May 8. Walker and the other officials would then face a recall election on June 5, he said. If there is no primary in any of the races, the May date will be for the final election.
Lawyers for the officeholders agreed to the additional time on Tuesday, avoiding a scheduled hearing today before Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Richard G. Niess in Madison.
Valid signatures from 540,208 people, one quarter of the voters who cast ballots in the November 2010 election that propelled Walker into office, are required to trigger a run-off, according to the Government Accountability Board website.
As of Tuesday, 931,042 Walker recall signatures had been submitted, of which 905,547 were deemed valid, the board said, adding that it sought additional time to review the petitions for duplicate signatures.
Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Walker, referred requests for comment to Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks.
“A statewide recall election comes as a significant burden to state and local taxpayers with a cost of $9 million for a single statewide election,” Sparks said in a phone interview. “We urge the GAB to see that all of these elections are held on a single given day.”
Although the board said petitioners have collected a sufficient number of signatures to cause recall elections for Fitzgerald and three other state senators, it hasn’t yet certified those results. Doing so would have mandated setting an election date for those seats on the Tuesday of the sixth week after certification.
Dan Romportl, executive director for the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, said the party and the office holders had anticipated such a contest and that they were confident they would prevail.
“We’re absolutely feeling good going into this,” he said.
Brad Wojciechowski, spokesman for the Wisconsin Senate Democrats, said there is no more than one Democratic candidate in each senate district. He added that candidates don’t declare until the Government Accountability Board certifies the results.
Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, both Democrats, have said they plan to seek Walker’s job.
The case is In Re Petitions to Recall Governor Scott Walker, 2012-cv-2095, Dane County, Wisconsin, Circuit Court (Madison).
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