GAB Calls for Four Senate Recall Elections

The Government Accountability Board met on Monday, March 12th and ordered recall elections against four senators. The GAB also decided it would ask a judge to allow for recall elections to be held on May 8 and June 5, a week later than is currently required by law.

The GAB ordered recall elections for state senators Scott Fitzgerald, Van Wanggaard, Terry Moulton, and Pam Galloway. The GAB denied legal challenges filed by the four state senators regarding: 1) validity of signatures from the 2002 State Senate districts, 2) signatures gathered the day the recall committees registered, 3) signatures analyzed by third parties, and 4) signatures that may appear to be in similar handwriting.

The GAB also addressed challenges raised by the third party Verify the Recall. The senators did not submit any actual challenges based on Verify the Recall, but simply said the Board should consider any challenges offered by the group, which has not submitted any information to the Board. The Board said that under state law it can only accept challenges from the incumbent. In addition, the Board said it would not accept similar types of third-party challenges offered by the Governor and Lt. Governor’s committees when it considers those petitions at a future meeting. The Board is interested in reviewing Verify the Recall’s results for instances of possible petition fraud, as well as for ways to improve the recall petition process.

Although the GAB announced there will be recall elections against the four senators, the date of those elections is still uncertain. By state statute, the recall election must be held “on the Tuesday of the 6th week commencing after the date” the Board finds a recall petition to be sufficient and orders the election. Though this is a certain statutory deadline, the GAB is seeking an extension of the deadline which would allow for all recall elections, including those for Governor and Lt. Governor to be held on the same days.

The GAB would like to have its deadline to order recall elections extended to March 30th. This would allow the GAB to set elections for May 8, and if that becomes a primary election, the general election date would be June 5. If the extension is not granted, the general election date would be May 29, the day after Memorial Day.

A hearing regarding the Board’s extension request is scheduled for Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court before Judge Richard Niess.