GAB votes to allow recalls against four GOP senators

MADISON -- The Government Accountability Board voted unanimously Monday to order recalls against four Republican state senators, determining that enough valid signatures were submitted in each case to make them stand for election perhaps as early as May.

"They rejected every legal challenge the senators, the governor, and the lt. governor made.  All the legal challenges are done," said Jeremy Levinson, recall petition lawyer.

"We've gone through and looked at each of these individual signatures twice -- every single one on all six petitions," said Kevin Kennedy of the GAB.

About 930,000 signatures were submitted on petitions seeking the recall of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

It marks the first time since the petitions were turned in back in January that an official number of signatures has been made public. Recall organizers said at the time they had about 1 million signatures.

Only 540,208 need to be valid in order for the recall to move forward.

Kennedy says staff at the Government Accountability Board have only struck 26,000 signatures. Walker did not challenge any signatures, making it a near certainty that a recall election will be held.

Elections officials want any primary elections in the recalls to be on May 15 with general elections on June 12, but setting those dates would require the order of a judge. If the judge disagrees, the elections would be May 1 and May 29.

The recalls were motivated by anger over Walker's proposal passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature last year that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers. An earlier round of recalls last summer targeting six Republicans and three Democrats resulted in two Republican senators losing their seats, leaving the GOP with a slim 17-16 majority.