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Friday, June 3, 2011

 4:56 PM 

Judge grants GAB extra time to review Dem recalls; no delay for GOP elections

A Dane County judge has granted the Government Accountability Board's request for additional time to finish its review of the recall petitions filed against Dems Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Bob Wirch.

The GAB now has until June 10 -- next Friday -- to certify those elections and has a meeting scheduled for Wednesday to review the petitions.

Judge John Markson denied a request from Republicans to delay the recall elections of Republican senators that have already been certified until the Dem reviews are completed.

Markson also specified that today's original deadline for the GAB to certify those recalls remains in effect, setting up recall elections for six GOP senators for July 12.

If approved and certified next week, the three Dem recalls would take place July 19.

Markson said the GAB had shown good cause to extend the deadline, noting the unprecedented level of recall activity along with the passage of voter ID legislation and completing a statewide Supreme Court recount.

Markson also said he found no rule requiring the board to review the recall petitions in the order they were filed, as attorney for the GOP senators Michael Screnock argued.

Assistant AG Lewis Beilin, representing the GAB, said the board's staff tried to concurrently process all the recall petitions in time for its meeting last week, but was faced with "a mountain of material" in the recalls affecting Democratic candidates. He said the GAB did not take a position on the GOP's request for a delay in all the recall certifications.

Screnock said the challenges of Dem recall petitions did not meet the threshold to toss out the petitions and alleged that the challenges were brought to cause "confusion and delay" in the certification process.

But Markson rejected that argument, saying, "That simply has not been established here."

Dem attorney Jeremy Levinson said the challenges by Dem and GOP recall targets present are "of just a profoundly different nature," and said his clients approved of the GAB's request. But he asked that the GOP recalls ready for certification be allowed to move forward today.

"The rule of the day is, let's these done as quickly and as accurately as possible," Levinson said.

Screnock also said GAB members themselves were concerned about the "public perception" of holding the Republican recalls on one day and the Dem recalls on another.

But Markson said he would not make any type of policy decision about when elections should be held.

"I hope that the public perceives that I am applying the rule of law," Markson said, adding, "My job is not to make any person or political party pleased."

-- By Andy Szal


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