NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Recall efforts well underway in Wisconsin, Democratic Party says

Heart­en­ing news from the Bad­ger State:

In anoth­er sign that the Wis­con­sin GOP’s quick pas­sage of the bill to roll back bar­gain­ing rights is only caus­ing the fight to esca­late, Dems have now col­lect­ed over 45 per­cent of the sig­na­tures nec­es­sary to hold recall elec­tions for eight GOP state sen­a­tors, the Wis­con­sin Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty tells me.

Dems have now col­lect­ed over 56,000 sig­na­tures sup­port­ing the recall dri­ves, accord­ing to par­ty spokesman Graeme Zielin­s­ki, after anoth­er surge in orga­niz­ing activ­i­ty over the week­end. That’s up from roug­ly 14,000 after last week­end. This means Dems are well ahead of sched­ule: In each tar­get­ed dis­trict, Dems need to amass the required sig­na­tures — 25 per­cent of the num­ber who vot­ed in the last guber­na­to­r­i­al elec­tion — by a dead­line of 60 days after first fil­ing for recalls, which hap­pened near­ly two weeks ago.

Recall orga­niz­ers have approx­i­mate­ly forty-five days left to fin­ish gath­er­ing sig­na­tures. As read­ers here in the Pacif­ic North­west know, they need to col­lect more than the min­i­mum required for each recall effort because not all sig­na­tures will be valid. Hav­ing a cush­ion is absolute­ly essen­tial to a suc­cess­ful peti­tion drive.

Although Wis­con­sin has the recall (it was intro­duced in 1926) the state does not have the ini­tia­tive or referendum.

So peti­tion dri­ves there aren’t the com­mon sight that they are here.

Wash­ing­ton has all three instru­ments of direct democ­ra­cy. While our ini­tia­tive process needs reform, our recall process is already pret­ty sound. That’s because the Leg­is­la­ture has cre­at­ed checks and bal­ances to pre­vent abuse of the recall.

In Wis­con­sin, no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion is required to file a recall peti­tion. Con­se­quent­ly, the Repub­li­can Par­ty is attempt­ing to recall some of the state’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors at the same time the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is try­ing to recall the Repub­li­can sen­a­tors. If most of the peti­tion dri­ves are suc­cess­ful, much of the Wis­con­sin Sen­ate could be up for elec­tion… in an off-year.

Arti­cle XIII of the Wis­con­sin State Con­sti­tu­tion spells out the process, pro­ce­dures, and time­frame for recall of elect­ed offi­cials. Here’s a sum­ma­ry of the provisions:

  • Recalls of any elect­ed offi­cial may be launched after the offi­cial has served one year in office. Recall orga­niz­ers do not have to show that the offi­cial they wish to recall has com­mit­ted wrongdoing.
  • Recall attempts only move for­ward if enough valid sig­na­tures are col­lect­ed. The min­i­mum num­ber is equiv­a­lent to twen­ty-five per­cent of the per­sons vot­ing for gov­er­nor in the last elec­tion in the juris­dic­tion where the elect­ed offi­cial is serv­ing (in this case, Sen­ate dis­tricts).
  • If enough sig­na­tures are col­lect­ed, a recall elec­tion is sched­uled for the sixth week after the date of the fil­ing of the petition.
  • If mul­ti­ple can­di­dates from the same par­ty file for the recall elec­tion, a “recall pri­ma­ry” is held dur­ing the week pre­vi­ous­ly mentioned.
  • The actu­al recall elec­tion is held four weeks after the “recall pri­ma­ry”, if there is one. Each par­ty is rep­re­sent­ed by its nominees.
  • The per­son who receives the high­est num­ber of votes in the recall elec­tion is elect­ed for the remain­der of the term.

You can read Arti­cle XVI­I­I’s sev­en pro­vi­sions for your­self at the Wis­con­sin Leg­is­la­ture’s web­site. They’re not too dif­fi­cult to understand.

Wis­con­sin Democ­rats only need to flip three seats to regain con­trol of the state Sen­ate and estab­lish a bul­wark against Scott Walk­er’s regime. If all eight of their sig­na­ture dri­ves are suc­cess­ful, they could lose more than half of the recall elec­tions and still take back the state Senate.

By approv­ing Scott Walk­er’s unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic union-bust­ing leg­is­la­tion, Wis­con­sin’s Sen­ate Repub­li­can cau­cus poured fuel on the fires of the recall efforts. They effec­tive­ly declared war on work­ing fam­i­lies. Now work­ing fam­i­lies are fight­ing back.

On Fri­day, Dane Coun­ty, the state’s sec­ond-largest local juris­dic­tion, filed suit to block the union-bust­ing bill from being imple­ment­ed. (See a copy of the legal fil­ing).The judge assigned to the case refused to grant the coun­ty’s request for a tem­po­rary restrain­ing order, or TRO, but has sched­uled a hear­ing for Wednes­day where Dane Coun­ty will be able to make its case.

We’ll keep you post­ed on devel­op­ments on the recall dri­ves and the lawsuit.

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One Ping

  1. […] Recall efforts well under­way in Wis­con­sin, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty says […]

    Ping from Morning Rundown for March 15th, 2011 :: March 15th, 2011 at 9:37 AM