It's official: Recall elections set for May 8, June 5
The Wisconsin elections panel voted today to hold separate recall elections against Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
The Government Accountability Board unanimously certified just over 900,000 petition signatures for the Walker recall effort and about 809,000 signatures for the effort to unseat Kleefisch. Both numbers were well above the 540,000 needed to force the recall votes.
The GAB also officially set the dates for the Walker and Kleefisch elections and recall contests in four Republican Senate districts. Elections for all six posts will be May 8.
If primaries are needed, general elections will be held June 5.
The head of the State Democratic Party said there's "no great cause for celebration" in today's historic order for a recall election against Walker.
"Wisconsin deserves an honest discussion about her future, and today's actions ensure that this judgment will now be in the hands of the people," said Mike Tate. Democrats helped run the recall petition drive.
Walker's camp said it believes most voters will stand with the governor's record of "laying the foundation for a more successful Wisconsin."
But Kathleen Falk, a Democrat who's been endorsed by the state's largest public employee unions, said "the people are ready for change."
The recall was prompted by last year's move by Republicans to strip most public employees of their collective bargaining privileges, except to ask for pay raises at or below inflation. Falk has promised to veto the entire state budget next year unless collective bargaining is restored.
State elections officials threw out about 3% of the recall petition signatures, and the GAB decided to let voters see the names of those who were crossed out. The board approved the public release of two databases. They'll show the names of the signers who were both counted and rejected, but they won't show addresses.
In January the GAB posted all of the original recall petitions with the names and addresses of the signers, but they were not searchable.
The GAB said it only found four names on the Walker petitions that were obviously fakes: Adolf Hitler, Mick E. Mous, Donald L. Duck and I Love Scott Walker Thanks. Those signatures were rejected along with about 26,000 others for various reasons.
About 4,000 signatures were struck because they duplicated others. In those cases, one signature was counted while the others were crossed out.
The board was going to delete the name of Fungky Van Den Elzen until someone called the agency yesterday and said a person by that name had a Facebook page.
Walker becomes the third governor in the nation, and the first in Wisconsin, to face a recall. Kleefisch is the first lieutenant governor to be a recall target.
Primaries are expected in both the governor's and lieutenant governor's races. We won't know about the Senate races until April 10, when nomination papers must be filed.
Senate Republicans Scott Fitzgerald, Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard each have one announced Democratic challenger at the moment.
Wausau Republican Pam Galloway was also targeted for recall, but she resigned earlier this month, so that will turn into a regular Senate election on the recall voting dates. Assembly Republican Jerry Petrowski and Assembly Democrat Donna Seidel have announced candidates for that seat.