Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign today filed legal documents with the Government Accounting Board, asking that 20 more days be added to the time they have to review 152,000 pages of recall petitions. State law allots 10 days for such review and requires 540,208 valid signatures to bring about a recall election.
The supposedly non-partisan GAB was created in 2007 and is made up of six former judges appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate to serve a 6-year term. All current members were appointed by former Governor Jim Doyle, a Democrat, and the GAB has delayed the process of releasing signatures for review. Walker’s team had previously sued GAB under the equal protection clause for treating duplicate signatures as valid.
In January, Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis ruled in favor of Republican officials, ordering state election officials to “take affirmative steps” to remove fake or duplicate names from recall petitions. However, he provided few specifics on what those steps should be.
“We expect that because we have not been given sufficient time to verify the signatures, the Government Accountability Board will adhere to Judge Mac Davis’ ruling, as they have publicly committed, and will continue to take affirmative steps to remove duplicate, invalid or fraudulent signatures in order to maintain integrity and fairness in the process,” explained Walker campaign communications director Ciara Matthews.
In addition to the official effort by the Walker’s campaign, in conjunction with the Republican Party of Wisconsin, a third group, called “Verify the Recall,” has also been attempting to validate signatures via both visual and electronic inspections.
Matthews noted that between both efforts, more than 20,000 people have worked on inspections. “Despite these massive efforts, the time to challenge hundreds of thousands of signatures was simply unavailable.”
The Republican Party of Wisconsin has cited examples of signatures turning up for Donald Duck and Adolph Hitler on petitions. Multiple stories have appeared in local Wisconsin media outlets citing anecdotal evidence of individuals signing petitions on behalf of someone else.
But as Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman (and former staff writer for the Onion) Graeme Zielinski notes, no formal challenge to any specific signatures has been filed. If an extension is granted, that should change.