Recall petitions online, creating controversy

MADISON -- Recall petitions targeting four Wisconsin state senators have been scanned and were made public through the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board's website, and it only took 48 hours for these petitions to begin to be scrutinized. Those opposed to the recall are pointing out what they call unacceptable mistakes on the part of recall petitioners, while Democrats say everything is on the up-and-up, and the recall elections are unavoidable.

Democrats say the nearly two million total signatures to recall Governor Scott Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state senators will withstand any challenge. "Any reasonable person looking at this understands there's going to be an election," State Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said.

Republicans aren't so sure. "There's always the chance we may be able to show that some of these signatures are not valid signatures," Republican State Senator Van Wanggaard said.

The second the GAB put the signatures online, questions and controversy began. "What we found was disturbing, to say the least," Sikma said. Sikma is with the conservative non-profit watchdog group Media Trackers, and points out several signature pages filed against Wausau State Senator Pam Galloway that are essentially copies of other pages. Sikma says that's just a first glance at inaccuracies. "You have a process that's just riddled with errors and is just ripe for fraud and abuse, unfortunately," Sikma said.

Senator Larson has a different take on the recall review, and says the recall efforts were done in good faith because of bad Republican leadership. "If they hadn't been in lock-step with Walker, there wouldn't be any recalls to begin with, and if the Republicans had been willing to work with the people of Wisconsin, there wouldn't be any of this," Larson said.

It would take more than 5,000 invalid signatures to avoid a recall effort against Galloway, and there are similary large buffers in the case of all the recall efforts.