Wisconsin election officials will examine more than 1.9 million petition signatures aimed at forcing recalls of Governor Scott Walker, his lieutenant governor and four state senators, all Republicans. The Government Accountability Board, a nonpartisan panel of former judges, for two months will focus on the validity of names turned in yesterday in Madison, the state capital, said Director Kevin Kennedy. The timing of any recall election is unknown, he said, because there are “so many variables” in a verification process that will be webcast and subject to legal challenges. Two sets of eyes will examine every name, he said. “We have no dog in this fight,” Kennedy said yesterday at a news conference in Madison, referring to the board’s neutrality. “We just have a job to do.”
Walker, 44, pushed collective-bargaining curbs on public employees that divided the state of 5.7 million people. At least 1 million people signed petitions to force him from office, nearly as many as the 1.1 million who voted for him in 2010. If the board finds at least 540,208 of the signatures are valid, Wisconsin will become only the third state to consider ousting a governor.
“Scott Walker will be recalled,” Mike Tate, chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, said in a news conference in Madison. The petitions are “a crystal-clear indication of how strong the appetite is,” Ryan Lawler, a board member of United Wisconsin, said in a statement. The group helped amass the names.