GAB director says fake names shouldn't impact recall effort

MILWAUKEE -- The latest recall news drawing controversy is that signatures of obviously fictitious people like Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler won't automatically be thrown out if they include a valid address, leaving the burden of proof on petitioners to check their names, and Walker supporters to challenge these names. Kevin Kennedy, the director of the Government Accountability Board who will oversee the petition verification process says the chances of those names making a difference in the recall effort is unlikely, but not everyone is convinced!

Kennedy says the Government Accountability Board will look at a million and a half signatures, and that the Mickey Mouses will be a small number, and not enough to make a difference. Speaking to the Milwaukee Press Club Wednesday, Kennedy said the first screener is the petitioner himself. "The person who circulates is stating, under oath, 'I personally obtained these signatures. I know who signed them. They have a responsibility right up front," Kennedy said. Signature-gatherers must also sign every page of their petitions, stating they realize falsifying their papers is punishable by law.

Once the petitions are submitted in January, a recall committee will screen the signatures, checking that they are properly dated, and include a valid Wisconsin address, along with hand entering them into a database, which will catch duplicate names and fake names. However, Kennedy says the law doesn't require the GAB to read the actual names listed on the petitions. "If we see something that leaps out at us, we're gonna flag it to say, do we do further investigation?  It depends.  In most cases we're so far above the number of signatures that are needed, it's not even gonna factor into the equation," Kennedy said.

The GAB plans to ask the court for an extension, to get 60 days to finish its petition review, instead of 31. The final round of screenings will include any challenges, and challenges must be made within 10 days after copies of the petitions are given to targeted office holders, who will likely see an extension as well.

One Walker supporter listening to Kennedy speak Wednesday remains skeptical of the recall process in general. "I just don't think this whole recall is going to be honest. I still think there's a lot of opportunity for fraud," Keith Best said.

Kennedy says the GAB expects 600,000 to 700,000 signatures to verify in the Governor's race, alone.