MILWAUKEE -- Tuesday is a big day in Wisconsin state politics, as Democrats will head to Madison and turn in recall petitions targeting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, along with four Republican state senators. The signatures are due to the Government Accountability Board Tuesday, and almost everyone predicts there will be enough signatures. Now, another debate is brewing: when should these potential recall elections be held?
Different elections could theoretically happen at different times, but the Government Accountability Board is saying that would be a waste.
The Government Accountability Board's approach to save money by coordinating recall election dates is already sparking debate before signatures are even turned in. "Our goal is to reduce taxpayer expense. We'll ask for enough flexibility in scheduling that the elections all occur on the same two dates, a primary or an election date," GAB President Kevin Kennedy said.
If a judge agrees, some Democrats say voters in districts where senators are targeted for recall may have to unfairly wait to vote until the signatures in the recall effort against Governor Scott Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch are verified.
However, Democrats say whenever those recall elections occur, they've been earned by poor Republican policies. "If they reached out and found compromise, we wouldn't be in this situation we're in, where people are being recalled. We'd be in a much better state," Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said.
Governor Walker's staff wouldn't say where Walker stands on the effort to consolidate the recall elections, but Walker continues to call the recall effort baseless and costly. "I think a lot of people feel the whole process has been frustrating. I mean, just the recall itself will cost taxpayers $9 million," Walker said.
UW-Milwaukee Professor of Governmental Affairs Mordecai Lee says a judge will ultimately settle the jockeying for where and when the recall elections will be held. Still, he warns even if the ruling satisfies a party, it may not please the public. "I'm guessing the public interest here is complicity and clarity and as it turns out, politicians don't want simplicity and clarity. They just want partisan advantage, so I'm not sure how this will play out, but I'm guessing it won't be pretty," Lee said.
FOX6 reached out to the Democratic party to give them a chance to better explain why they want elections announced as quickly as possible. Is it to keep recall momentum going? Is it to end the ability of recalled candidates to raise unlimited amounts of money? Those questions were not answered after FOX6's interview was canceled late in the day.