Wisconsinites’ efforts to protect democracy—in the workplace and through the ballot—are rapidly escalating on two key fronts. The state will soon witness major election and legal battles to combat Walker-supported laws limiting the rights of public workers and restricting voting booth access. Laws passed in 2011 virtually eliminate public-employee bargaining rights and restrict voting to those with approved IDs, which could potentially disenfranchise tens of thousands of state residents. “First you take away workers’ rights, then you change the laws so that it’s hard for them to vote you out of office,” said Scot Ross, director of One Wisconsin Now, a progressive media-focused group.
On Tuesday, the United Wisconsin coalition of labor and the Democratic Party delivered petitions—signed by about 1 million Wisconsin residents, at least some of which likely voted for Walker— calling for a recall election for the governor. Only 540,208 valid signatures are required to trigger such an election.
Walker is expected to face a Democratic opponent sometime this spring. His lieutenant governor and four Republican senators are also likely to face recall votes. Only two governors have been recalled in U.S. history, but Walker’s high unfavorability ratings—58% of Badger State residents support his recall-—suggest that his head could become the third to roll.