A state appeals court has refused to halt a legal attempt by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign committee to force state election officials to more aggressively screen signatures in a recall attempt against him. But the court also cleared the way for recall campaigns to appeal an earlier court decision in the case.
The appeals court’s action allows a hearing to proceed Thursday afternoon in the lawsuit by the Friends of Scott Walker and Stephan Thompson, executive director of the state Republican Party, against the state Government Accountability Board. The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in the courtroom of Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis.
The suit, citing constitutional rights to equal protection, asks Davis to order the accountability board to look for and eliminate duplicate signatures, clearly fake names and illegible addresses on recall petitions, which must be filed by Jan. 17. The accountability board reviews the signatures.
Jeremy Levinson, attorney for recall groups targeting Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Republican state senators, had sought to make the groups, and some individuals connected with them, parties in the case. Davis last week denied that motion, and Levinson is appealing that decision to the Madison-based District 4 of the state Court of Appeals.
Along with his appeal, Levinson included a motion that the appeals court stay the proceedings in Davis’ court. Attorneys for the Walker campaign and Thompson moved that the court dismiss the appeal.
In a decision dated Wednesday, the appeals court denied both motions.
In Thursday afternoon’s hearing, Davis is expected to hear arguments in favor of an injunction the Walker campaign wants issued ordering accountability board officials not to say publicly that people can legally sign recall petitions more than once, and not to shift the burden to the Walker campaign, which can challenge recall signatures, to find all the duplicate and fictitious signatures and illegible addresses.