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Friday, March 30, 2012

 9:32 AM 

GAB finds sufficient signatures for Walker, Kleefisch recall elections

The Government Accountability Board has found opponents turned in enough valid signatures to trigger recall elections against Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

The board this morning unanimously passed motions certifying those petitions, as well as petitions against four GOP senators found sufficient by the board earlier this month.

The board further directed GAB staff to file the certifications today, which would set up election dates on May 8 and June 5.

GAB staff found 900,939 valid signatures against Walker, up one signature from the board's original recommendation after staff located an individual -- Fungky Van Den Elzen -- previously thought to be fictitious.

Ultimately, 26,113 signatures were struck as insufficient with another 4,001 duplicates found on Walker's petition. The final total was more than 360,000 signatures above the 540,208 needed to trigger a recall election.

The board also verified 808,990 signatures on the petition against Kleefisch.

GAB attorney Michael Haas said that signatures were struck almost entirely because of incompleteness or errors, and "not because we detected any fraud."

Walker and Kleefisch will be joined on the ballot in Senate districts held by Republicans Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and Van Wanggaard of Racine, along with the seat previously held by Pam Galloway of Wausau.

The board also voted to make two databases used in the recall reviews available to the public on the agency website. One database would include a function allowing the public to search through the petitions.

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said he expects the petitions would eventually be found to have deficiencies since "this is a very human process." But he said the margin on the petitions was "so overwhelming" that staff felt comfortable recommending sufficiency.

"I think we did exactly what we were required to do and then some," Kennedy said after the votes.

-- By Andy Szal

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