Democrats seeking to recall Gov. Scott Walker filed more than a million signatures Tuesday, virtually guaranteeing a historic recall election against him later this year. It would mark the first gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin history and only the third one in U.S. history. Organizers Tuesday also handed in 845,000 recall signatures against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, as well as recall petitions against four GOP state senators, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau. The sheer number of signatures being filed against Walker – nearly as many as the total votes cast for the governor in November 2010 and about twice as many as those needed to trigger a recall election – ensure the election will be held, said officials with the state Democratic Party and United Wisconsin, the group that launched the Walker recall.
“It is beyond legal challenge,” said Ryan Lawler, vice chairman of United Wisconsin. “The collection of more than one million signatures represents a crystal-clear indication of how strong the appetite is to stop the damage and turmoil that Scott Walker has brought to Wisconsin.” Walker has said for weeks – and reiterated again Tuesday – that he expects a recall election. Some supporters have echoed that sentiment, and said Tuesday they also considered an election inevitable.
But party officials, frustrated for weeks by reports of people signing petitions multiple times, said they’ll still deploy thousands of volunteers to analyze the signatures for irregularities or problems. “We may want to make sure that Wisconsin voters are not disenfranchised,” state Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks said.
Democrats said they removed an undisclosed number of signatures that were duplicates, illegible or seemingly fake. They acknowledged other problem signatures likely will still turn up, but they expect the effort to hold up easily.