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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

 4:53 PM 

Dem, GOP recall challenges consolidated

All challenges to the Government Accountability Board's certification of recall petitions will be considered in a single court action under an order in Dane County Circuit Court.

The challenges filed by six GOP senators and three Dems will be considered simultaneously by Judge Richard Niess. Initial briefs from both Dem and GOP attorneys are due June 29, followed by responses on July 5 and replies on July 7.

Niess said he expects to decide on the challenges by the first scheduled round of recall primaries on July 12, and that voters in those districts should presume that those elections will be held.

Dem attorney Jeremy Levinson originally objected to consolidation, saying combining the starkly different legal arguments could slow down the recall process. But he said the schedule laid out in court today satisfied his concerns.

Eric McLeod, attorney for the GOP recall operations, offered an informal motion to stay the July 12 primaries during today's hearing if the court found the proposed timetable too close to Election Day. Niess denied that motion, but said the issue could be raised again "if it becomes unmanageable to get a decision out in time for the election."

McLeod said after the hearing that he wasn't concerned about the denial of that motion, noting that his clients are preparing for July 12 and 19 election days anyway.

Niess said he expects to rule on the briefings alone, and the attorneys agreed that the court should consider the matter as an agency review -- utilizing solely the GAB's meeting materials and the recall petitions themselves as evidence.

-- By Andy Szal

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