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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

 6:09 PM 

Walker wants more time to review petitions, Dems oppose request

Gov. Scott Walker argues in a new court filing that he needs an additional two weeks because he’s only a fourth of the way through the 150,000 pages of petitions filed against him.

But the committee seeking his recall responded today that Walker has decided to spend the millions he’s raised trying to fend off a recall on advertisements and shouldn’t be granted an extension just because he hasn’t dedicated more resources to the petitions.

A hearing on Walker’s request, filed Monday, is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

A Dane County judge originally granted Walker a 20-day extension on top of the 10 days he has under state statutes to review the petitions.

In his request, Walker argues the additional two weeks would give him until March 12 to finish his review of the petitions. The GAB faces a March 19 deadline to rule on whether an election should be held, and Walker argues in his brief the agency could still finish its work by the end of March.

Walker argues the error rate for signatures is expected to be between 10 percent and 20 percent, and there's not sufficient time to provide factual basis for objections to the problematic signatures as well as root out duplicates.

The brief also argues giving Walker an extension could save the GAB time in reviewing the objections.

“The current period set by the court is not a legally sufficient amount of time to perform a meaningful review of the recall petition and raise objections that are properly supported by evidence,” Walker argues.

But the recall committee, in its response filed this afternoon, says Walker acknowledges he'd need an error rate of closer to 50 percent to put a recall election in doubt. What’s more, the committee argues Walker’s claim of an error rate of 10 percent to 20 percent is not supported by any evidence submitted to the court and if he had, the actual rate would likely be much lower.

Because he's nowhere near challenging enough signatures to derail an election, he has not provided good cause to grant another delay and his request should be denied, the committee argues.

“If Governor Walker (or the GAB for that matter) desires to study in depth various aspects of the petitions -- or is intent on knowing whether there are 450,000 versus 364,000 signatures above and beyond that necessary to trigger the election -- he is free to pursue the matter,” the committee argues. “Be he is not free to delay the certification process -- and his election -- in meantime.”

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy declined to comment on Walker’s request, saying the agency planned to meet with its lawyers today to discuss it.

He also said the agency is making good progress on its own review of the recall petitions.

“We’re plugging away, and I’m happy with the process we’re making,” Kennedy said.

-- By Staff

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