The state elections board voted unanimously Tuesday to allow six Republicans to run as Democrats to appear on the ballot in Wisconsin’s upcoming recall elections against Gov. Scott Walker and five other Republicans. The decision of the retired judges who sit on the state Government Accountability Board means that all six of the races will have a May 8 primary election and a general recall election on June 5. The GAB agreed with the recommendation of its staff, which was released in a Monday memo, that elections officials did not have the legal authority to keep the six fake Democrats, or “protest candidates,” from the ballot because state law doesn’t require people to prove they belong to any political party before running for office. And GAB staff counsel Mike Haas told the board that Wisconsin elections officials can’t investigate the motives of candidates or their political affiliation. “It’s a bad precedent for us to question the motivations of candidates on the ballot,” said Kevin Kennedy, the GAB director and general counsel.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin recruited six candidates — Gladys Huber, Isaac Weix, Gary Ellerman, Tamra Lyn Varebrook, James Engel and James Buckley — to run as Democrats in the recall elections. Republicans said the strategy would help avoid confusing voters by ensuring all six races would have primaries on May 8 and the general elections June 5.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin objected, saying that the candidates filed false information on official documents submitted to the GAB and should be blocked from getting on the ballots. The Democrats’ attorney, Jeremy Levinson, accused the GOP of manufacturing a false primary. “We need to take them at their word that this was the scheme to manipulate the elections that they told us it was,” he told the board Tuesday.Levinson added that “these kind of shenanigans and swindles cannot be allowed to continue.”