I don’t think this is catastrophic or anything, but it is a set-back and a huge pain in the ass for state election officials:
A judge in Wisconsin threw a curveball Thursday evening into the recall campaign targeting Republican Gov. Scott Walker, ruling that state election officials must make a greater effort to screen out fake or duplicate petition signatures — rather than abide by the pre-existing rules, which have placed more of the burden on the Walker campaign.
The Wisconsin GOP released a victorious statement from executive director Stephan Thompson.“The Waukesha County court’s ruling today that the Government Accountability Board must take affirmative steps to identify and strike fraudulent signatures from recall petitions was a victory for the millions of Wisconsin electors who were at risk of being disenfranchised amidst the recall effort,” Thompson said. “The Republican Party of Wisconsin is committed to working with the GAB in its efforts to preserve the integrity of the recall process, ensuring that all individuals are treated equally, and any fictitious names or duplicate signatures are removed from petitions.”
Last week, Davis ruled against a motion by the Democrats and other recall organizers, to intervene and become parties in the case. This meant that the litigation was conducted exclusively between the state GOP and the election board’s attorney, without the Dems themselves being able to participate and present legal arguments.
When asked for comment on Davis’s decision last night, the recall committee’s attorney Jeremy Levinson gave a scathing statement to TPM: “The case was political theater. Scott Walker wanted the agency to do the work at taxpayer expense that campaigns have always done. He also wanted to smear the referee before the game began. And Judge Davis obliged. The reality is this doesn’t change the fact that despite Walker’s attempt to escape the judgment of voters is a dead letter. There will be an election no matter how many lawsuits the Walker litigation machine dreams up.”
After Issue Two in Ohio, some Democrats here said that Walker in Wisconsin would back off. That hasn’t happened, obviously. There were three arrests yesterday in “Walkergate” and yet the state GOP issued a crowing, gloating statement after this court win. They’re not backing off.
My biggest concern with Wisconsin is (still) the voter suppression law. In Ohio, we were able to stay the latest version of a voter suppression law by putting it to a ballot referendum in 2012.
In Wisconsin, they’re going to have to deal with a brand new voter suppression law, while conducting a recall, and preparing for the 2012 elections. That’s just an enormous amount of work for people on the ground.
(Thanks to commenter The Ancient Randonneur)