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Wisconsin Dems 6. Wisconsin Republicans 0.

Conservatives and some political observers are making a big deal out of the fact that the Dem candidate in the closely watched state Supreme Court race in Wisconsin finally conceded defeat today, as had long been expected.

But surely it’s also a big deal that we now know for certain that six Wisconsin Republican state senators will officially face recall elections, while a grand total of zero Democrats may face the same?

Today the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board announced that they have now approved the signatures required for recall elections against the following six GOP senators: Rob Cowles, Alberta Darling, Sheila Harsdorf, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, and Luther Olsen. That means these six elections are definitely moving forward.

Meanwhile, the board has also announced that they are not prepared to approve the signatures gathered by Republicans for the recall of their three Democratic targets. Dems have alleged that the signature gathering by Republicans is fraudulent, and now the board has explicitly claimed that their reason for not approving the recall elections against Dems is that the signatures “have raised numerous factual and legal issues which need to be investigated and analyzed.”

Translation: The fraud allegations just may have something to them.

What this means: While Dems only need to net three recall elections to take back the state senate, it is now within the realm of possibility that even as twice that number of Republicans face recall elections, no Dems will. That’s a pretty sizable advantage for Dems.

To be clear, it is possible that the board will ultimately approve some or all three of the recall elections against Dems. But even if that happens, Dems still retain a significant advantage. Either way, it is clearly an important development that we now know for a fact that six recalls against Republicans will definitely proceed.

One other tidbit: The Government Accountability Board has also asked the Wisconsin state legislature for an additional $40,000 to help evaluate the signatures and facilitate the recall elections. But a Board spokesman, Reid Magney, confirms to me that the legislature has not responded to the request. “We have not gotten an answer from them,” Magney tells me.

Guess who controls the state legislature? Wisconsin Republicans. Indeed, the

senate side of the relevant committee that would make those funds available is stacked with GOP recall targets. Go figure!

By: Greg Sargent, The Plum Line, The Washington Post, May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Democracy, Gov Scott Walker, Ideologues, Ideology, Lawmakers, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisconsin OKs Recall Elections For GOP Sens. Randy Hopper, Luther Olsen, Dan Kapanke

The Wisconsin board that oversees elections rejected most challenges Monday to a recall effort targeting three Republican state senators, clearing the way for a July 12 election.

The Government Accountability Board rejected the challenges made to recall petitions targeting Republican Sens. Dan Kapanke of La Crosse, Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac and Luther Olsen of Ripon.

They are among nine lawmakers, six Republicans and three Democrats, targeted for recalls for their positions on GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal taking away collective bargaining rights from most state workers.

Democrats are pushing the recalls as a way to gain majority control of the Senate, which they lost in the fall 2010 election. Democrats need to pick up three seats to gain a majority.

Republicans currently control both houses of the Legislature, providing GOP Gov. Scott Walker a clear path to passing his legislative agenda.

It was passage of Walker’s collective bargaining proposal that motivated all nine recalls. Republicans were targeted for supporting the bill while the Democrats were targeted for leaving the state for three weeks in an ultimately vain attempt to block passage of the bill.

The law has not taken effect pending a legal challenge.

State lawmakers are considering passing the law again, as part of the state budget in June, if the courts have not resolved the issue by then.

Most of the recall elections are likely to take place July 12, unless delayed by a court challenge. If a primary is necessary, that would occur July 12 with the general election likely Aug. 9.

The other Republican lawmakers facing recall elections are Sens. Robert Cowles of Allouez, Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls and Alberta Darling of River Hills. Democrats facing recalls are Sens. Dave Hansen of Green Bay, Robert Wirch of Pleasant Prairie and Jim Holperin of Conover.

The board plans to evaluate the challenges to those six recall petitions at its May 31 meeting, and likely would certify all the petitions that same week.

By: Jason Smathers, Associated Press, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Governors, Lawmakers, Politics, Public Employees, Republicans, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Justice Delayed: Wisconsin Recall Elections To Be Held July 12

A Dane County, WI judge has approved a request by the state Government Accountability Board (GAB), which oversees elections in the state, to delay some state Senate recall elections and consolidate them into one day on July 12. In the course of making that decision, the judge turned back Democratic objections that some of their recalls should proceed as quickly as possible in June.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

Signatures were filed against senators starting April 1, and under tight timelines in the statutes, the first election could have been scheduled in mid-June. But Dane County Judge John W. Markson agreed to give the accountability board more time to evaluate the petitions and schedule the elections.

He agreed the board needed more time because of the unprecedented demands on evaluating tens of thousands of signatures for each recall attempt. He also noted the board is bogged down by a statewide recount in the April 5 election for state Supreme Court.

The GAB had sought the extension primarily on the grounds that the extraordinary number of recalls was straining their capacity to review signatures. On the other hand, as WisPolitics reported on Thursday, Democratic Party attorney Jeremy Levinson had argued in a court filing that delaying any of the recalls would do damage to the Dems, and create political space for the Republicans to do mischief with the extra time:

Levinson argues delaying the matter would give the incumbents an “extra-statutory” fundraising advantage, and leave representation of those districts “an open and pending question.”

In addition, Levinson argues that delaying the recall elections may result in laws being enacted that would not be if the recalls are held in the time frame permitted by statute.

“The rush to put ‘Voter ID’ and the concealed carry of firearms before the legislature — to say nothing of the pending budget — confirm that this is an entirely concrete concern,” Levinson writes.

In addition, as Jessica Arp from the local CBS affiliate reported from Judge Markson’s court hearing, Levinson also argued that the earliest petitions, against state Sen. Dan Kapanke and state Sen. Randy Hopper, were filed so quickly as a deliberate decision on the Dems’ part, in order to have the recalls move forward quickly while the issues are still fresh in the public mind.

Ultimately, though, Markson declared that it had become difficult or impossible for the GAB to meet the statutory deadline, and that the public would be better served by having the recalls held on a single day.

The state Senate currently has a 19-14 Republican majority, with Democrats hoping to pick up three seats in recall elections and win a majority, in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation. In order to initiate a recall, signatures of at least 25 percent of the number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election, within the targeted district, must be collected in a 60-day window.

Democrats have filed recall signatures against six Republicans: Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper, Luther Olsen, Sheila Harsdorf, Alberta Darling and Rob Cowles. Republicans have filed recall signatures against three Democrats: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch.

Under Wisconsin’s recall law, elected officials must have served at least one year of their term before being recalled — thus exempting the half of the Senate that was just elected in 2010. In addition, Dems have also declared their intention to recall Walker himself next year, when the one-year exemption runs out.

By: Eric Kleefeld, Talking Points Memo, April 29, 2011

April 30, 2011 Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Elections, Gov Scott Walker, Politics, Public Employees, State Legislatures, Unions, Voters, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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