Recall Petition Update 9: Extension Granted, Likely Recall Election Dates May 8 and June 5


Madison, WI – The Government Accountability Board on Wednesday received an extension to March 30 to complete its review of all the recall petitions, setting the stage for the Board to order recall elections for May 8 and June 5, 2012.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Niess approved a stipulation agreement between the G.A.B., the recall petitioners and the incumbents to extend the original deadline of March 19. Judge Niess said the G.A.B. showed “ample” good cause for its request.

“We are pleased that all the parties and the judge were able to agree on a reasonable extension that will allow the Board’s staff to complete its careful examination of the recall petitions for the Governor and Lt. Governor, which includes finding and eliminating duplicate signatures,” said Kevin J. Kennedy, director and general counsel of the G.A.B. “This extension also allows us to avoid having to hold a recall election the day after Memorial Day.”

On Monday, the G.A.B. voted to seek an extension from the current deadline of March 19 to March 30. By state statute, the recall election must be held “on the Tuesday of the 6th week commencing after the date” the Board finds a recall petition to be sufficient and orders the election. Wis. Stat. s. 9.10(3)(b). Had the Board been required to order recall elections by the March 19 deadline, an election would be called for May 1, and if that became a primary election, the general election date would have been May 29, the day after Memorial Day.

The Board has scheduled a special meeting for 9 a.m. Friday, March 30, in Room 412E of the State Capitol to consider the recall petitions for the Governor and Lt. Governor. At that meeting, the Board anticipates ordering all recall elections for May 8, and if that becomes a primary election, the general election date would be June 5.

“This scenario allows all the recall elections to be consolidated on two dates, saving taxpayers additional costs had the elections been held on different schedules,” Kennedy said. “If an incumbent has only one challenger, that election would take place May 8.”

Based on a survey of county and municipal clerks, the G.A.B. estimated the cost of a single recall election to be approximately $9 million, which includes approximately $840,000 in one-time G.A.B. costs. A second election is estimated to cost $8.1 million. Were State Senate recall elections to be held on a separate schedule, each of the four would have cost $1 million.

Under state law, the incumbent officeholder’s name is automatically on the ballot unless he or she resigns within 10 days of the election being ordered. Under this schedule, candidates in the recall election will have from March 30 until 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 10 to circulate and file nomination petitions and declaration of candidacy papers with the G.A.B. State Senate candidates need a minimum of 400 signatures and Governor and Lt. Governor candidates need a minimum of 2,000 signatures.  A primary election will be held only for any political party and offices for which more than one candidate qualifies for the ballot.

On Monday, the Board stopped just short of ordering recall elections for State Senators Scott Fitzgerald (SD 13), Van Wanggaard (SD 21), Terry Moulton (SD 23) and Pam Galloway (SD 29). After considering the State Senator’s challenges, the Board determined after careful review that each of the four recall committees collected enough valid signatures to trigger recall elections.  Those elections will be ordered on March 30, 2012.

Kennedy said the Board’s staff continues to make good progress in its careful examination of the petitions against Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Kleefisch. The Board’s staff has completed its first and second reviews of both petitions, and is currently working on the court-ordered duplicate search in the petitions. Before the duplicate review, staff found:

Officeholder Signatures Required Signatures Submitted Signatures Struck by Staff Valid Signatures
Gov. Walker 540,208 931,042 25,495 905,547
Lt. Gov. Kleefisch 540,208 842,860 29,125 813,735

To conduct the duplicate review, the names of all petition signers have been hand-entered into databases. Those names were then sorted alphabetically by last name and first initial to identify possible duplicates. This allows identification of possible duplicates for first name variations such as James and Jim, Catherine and Cathy, etc. G.A.B. staff is currently looking at each possible duplicate signature and address on the petition page to determine whether they are from the same or different individuals. Where necessary, staff consults voter registration records to distinguish between people with the same names (for example, Jr. and Sr.) who live at the same address.

Kennedy said the staff found a low rate of duplicate signatures in the four State Senate petitions, ranging from a low of 0.59 percent for the petition filed against Sen. Van Wanggaard to a high of 1.9 percent for the petition filed against Sen. Galloway.



For more information, contact

Reid Magney, public information officer, 608-267-7887