Walker, Republican Party file recall lawsuit - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Walker, Republican Party file recall lawsuit


MADISON (WKOW) -- The governor's campaign and the Republican Party of Wisconsin are challenging the state's process for reviewing recall petitions.

The campaign and the Wisconsin Republican Party filed a lawsuit in Waukesha County Thursday, saying the Government Accountability Board's process for reviewing petitions is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit asks a judge to order the GAB to look for and throw out duplicate or illegible signatures and fake names.

Joe Olson, the attorney representing the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said, "When the Government Accountability Board makes public statements that they're not going to eliminate facially duplicate signatures, what that has the effect of doing, is giving greater weight to those who choose to sign multiple times."

Olson is talking about a Tuesday meeting, where GAB staff said they wouldn't toss out signatures like Mickey Mouse on a recall petition if everything else on the petition was in order.

The director of the GAB told Milwaukee television affiliate WISN on Wednesday that his staff is required to check for potential problems, but won't necessarily question signatures.

Kennedy explained, "Now I'm gonna look at line one, does it have the right fields? You know you've done this all day, Mickey Mouse gets by. That's why our staff said we're not going to necessarily catch that."

Olson said, "Their decision they won't strike those names, really works out to be a violation of the constitutional rights of those Wisconsinites who choose not to sign."

It's a three-step process for the GAB: workers review every name twice, then the target of the recall reviews them and can challenge signatures.

The Government Accountability Board released a statement Thursday saying, "The plaintiffs are challenging the rules that have been established by statutes and administrative code, and which have been in place since the late 1980s. Since then these rules have been used in every state and local recall petition effort against incumbents of both parties."

Graeme Zielinski, Communications Director for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, said, "It's just more hysterics from the Republican party. They didn't have a problem with the process when they tried to recall Jim Doyle, Herb Kohl, Russ Feingold."

Brian Schimming, with the Republican Party of Wisconsin, wouldn't comment on the lawsuit, but talked about fake names showing up on petitions. He said, "We've said from the beginning, we want this to be an open and honest process. We've seen enormous outside influence coming in to Wisconsin to try to defeat Governor Walker, and we want to make sure it is an open and honest process."

Kennedy said Wednesday he doesn't expect fake signatures to be a problem because signature collectors will catch problems before petitions are ever submitted.

The lawsuit is scheduled for a hearing December 29.

Recall petitions are due January 17.

The GAB has 31 days to review the signatures but has said they'll ask the court for an extension, to 60.

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