Democrats got a victory Friday when the Wisconsin Court of Appeals overturned a judge’s order for state election officials to be more aggressive in ferreting out fake or duplicate signatures on recall petitions. The order had been aimed at those examining petitions to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is being targeted in part for pushing last year’s law ending nearly all collective-bargaining rights for most public workers. United Wisconsin, the coalition that spearheaded the recall effort along with the Democratic Party, turned in 1 million signatures last month, almost twice as many as are needed to force a recall election against the governor. The signatures are still being vetted by state workers.
Walker’s campaign had sued the state Government Accountability Board in December, saying the GAB wasn’t planning to be aggressive enough in tossing fraudulent signatures. The board had previously announced that signatures such as Mickey Mouse or Adolf Hitler wouldn’t automatically be struck as long as they were properly dated and had Wisconsin addresses.
Judge Mac Davis ruled in favor of Republican officials in early January, ordering state election officials to “take affirmative steps” to remove fake or duplicate names from recall petitions. However, he provided few specifics on what those steps should be. In vacating Davis’s decision Friday, the three-member appeals court unanimously ruled that Democratic recall committees should have been allowed to participate in a hearing on the case.