Wisconsin Recall Update

Since Hamilton’s last analysis of the recall effort three major events have occurred: 1) the coalition seeking to recall Governor Walker announced updated signature totals; 2) both sides of the recall campaigns made financial reports; and 3) the Government Accountability Board discussed how the signature verification process will be handled.

Signature Total Update

First, as predicted by Hamilton, the new signature target for the coalition seeking to recall Governor Walker is over 700,000 signatures. The coalition announced that after 28 days it had collected 507,533 signatures, which means only 32,675 more signatures are needed by January 17th to force the recall. At this pace it is likely that a recall will occur.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that all of the senate recall campaigns are also progressing, and the recall leaders are optimistic about collecting enough signatures to force recall elections.

Campaign Finance Reports

The first campaign finance reports were released last week. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the recall organization, United Wisconsin, have raised about $1.48 million since July. Governor Walker has raised $5.1 million over the same period. The large amounts are a reflection of the campaign finance laws, which allow candidates facing recall to accept unlimited campaign contributions.

The reports show that a larger portion of the contributions to both sides of the recall effort is coming from out of state than ever before in the state’s history.

Government Accountability Board Facing Criticism

The Government Accountability Board, which reviews recall petitions, is being criticized for its role in the recalls.

Wisconsin law requires the GAB to presume that petition signatures are valid. Meaning it is up to the targeted office holder to find duplicate signatures or discover other non-valid signatures.

The conservative MacIver Institute released a report after the GAB’s most recent meeting suggesting that the GAB would accept the signatures of Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler so long as they had a Wisconsin address. After the Mickey Mouse report, Republicans filed a lawsuit claiming the GAB does not do enough to make sure the names on recall petitions are valid. The Republican Party requests in its complaint that the court order the GAB to review and throw out duplicates, fake names, and signatures with illegible addresses.