• WisPolitics


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

 9:04 AM 

GAB taking up Dem recalls

The Government Accountability Board has begun its hearing on whether to certify the recall petitions against three Dem state senators.

The GAB staff didn't taking a position on whether the recall petitions should proceed. Still, it notes there are enough valid signatures to trigger a recall against each, unless the board wants to toss thousands of signatures out over Dem allegations of fraud.

The staff prepared a memo on each recall petition as well as one on the overall fraud allegations raised by Dems Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Bob Wirch.

The Dems argue out-of-state circulators committed fraud in failing to properly list their addresses on the recall petitions, tricked people into signing and other improprieties. Republicans objected to the call to wipe out thousands of signatures.

In the memo on the fraud allegations, the staff says the board can invalidate multiple signatures on the recall elections filed against three Dem senators if it finds circulators committed fraud in collecting recall petitions.

But, staff notes, “the controlling Wisconsin authority does not prescribe clear factors or thresholds for evaluating when fraud in the recall process sufficiently impugns the integrity of the recall process, thus thwarting the will of the electors.”

The memo also lays out the legal issues associated with the Dems’ claims.

For each Dem, the staff found there were enough valid signatures after its review to meet the threshold for a recall election, but it also noted those signature totals were still subject to the review of the fraud allegations.

For Hansen, the staff found 15,636 valid signatures; 13,852 are needed. With Holperin, it was 19,446 valid signatures with 13,852 needed, while with Wirch it was 17,139 signatures with 13,537 needed.

Dan Hunt, who led the drive to recall Dem Sen. Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie, said in a press conference this morning prior to the GAB meeting that the release of the staff materials last night after 8 p.m. did not afford enough time to prepare for the hearing. He called the process flawed from the beginning.

"There is blatant political bias for one side against the other and that is absolutely wrong for a partisan body," Hunt said.

-- By Greg Bump

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