MacIver News Service | February 7, 2012[Madison, Wisc…] Citizens not affiliated with either the recall organizations or the office holders targeted for recall this spring have found scores of problems with the petitions, but Wisconsin’s elections watchdogs have decided they will not consider any of their evidence.
GAB Director and General Counsel Kevin Kennedy said there is no process in place for accepting information from outside groups and individuals. Governor Scott Walker and the four Republican state senators against whom recall petitions were filed last month are the only parties that can contest the validity of signatures, according to Kennedy.
The GAB will not investigate or consider independently-submitted evidence of recall petition fraud. This includes circumstances wherein individuals might notify the board that their own name and forged signature were submitted.
According to the GAB, anyone concerned that their signature was fraudulently included on a recall petition, therefore, must notify not the GAB, but rather the target of the recall. In addition, they must do so by the challenge deadline if they want that signature reviewed and ultimately, possibly, struck.
“Staff believes the Board should only rely on information that is developed by the staff in its petition review, submitted by the officeholders in a challenge or the petitioners in response to determine the sufficiency of recall petitions,” wrote GAB Executive Director and General Counsel Kevin Kennedy in a memo to GAB members Tuesday.
The GAB discussion on the petition review criteria and process focused on their minimum statutory requirements. However nothing in state statutes prohibits the GAB from considering independently-gathered evidence of fraud.
“Given the unprecedented nature of these recall efforts it would be improper to change procedures in the midst of our review,” Kennedy wrote.
The four Republican state senators have until Thursday to challenge signatures. Governor Walker’s challenges are due Feb. 27 and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has until March 5 since she received copies of the petitions seeking her recall a week after Walker.
The GAB has until March 19 to verify all of the petitions.
MacIver News’ Bill Osmulski has more in this video report: