On Thursday, state election officials retracted changes which could have circulated recall petitions for the possible upcoming recall efforts more efficiently, including the effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker. At a meeting Thursday, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules oversaw several of the Government Accountability Board’s retracted plans to recall election operations, including the distribution of online petitions.
At the meeting, Kevin Kennedy, head of the GAB, said the rule changes previously sought would allow an individual to open a “petition for recall” online with both their name and address on the form, increasing the speed of the petition’s circulation. This petition would also be considered valid even if this individual was the only one to sign the petition, he said.
Kennedy said this proposition would have allowed for a faster process because groups would not have to gather the signatures face-to-face and the petition signers would not have to fill in their addresses.
Republican members of the committee were skeptical of a the rules change by the independent GAB regarding the online circulation of petitions for recall elections in the state.
Committee Co-Chair Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, said the committee would postpone action on the recall petition rules change because the language of the change was too broad and would contrast with the intent of current policy.
“Basically, an agency can come up with any form that would be completely counter to existing law, and we would have to say we can’t touch it because it is a form,” Ott said. “This particular law would result in a change in policy.”
Teghan DeLane, spokesperson for Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, said Republicans wanted to compel the GAB into an emergency rule codification process, which would stop them from continuing with recommendations they disagree with.
“By forcing the GAB into the emergency rule process, the GOP would subject the GAB recommendations to the governor’s approval. This means … Walker would have the power to adopt or reject rules that may have a considerable impact on his political future,” DeLane said.