The group One Wisconsin Now announced Tuesday it would offer a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any individual guilty of fraudulently destroying or defacing recall petitions.
“We cannot allow democracy to be threatened by those who would illegally destroy recall petitions with valid signatures on them,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “We intend to keep the public informed about its rights during the signature gathering process and alert those who would engage in illegal conduct that they do so at their own peril.”
Wisconsin Democrats on November 15 launched a campaign to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Before the recall campaign even began, there were reports that conservative activists were plotting on Facebook to sabotage the recall effort by destroying petitions.
Destroying a recall petition is a class I felony in Wisconsin, which carries a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to three-and-a-half years in jail.
Ross said One Wisconsin Now was also providing information about the rules regarding signature gathering to those who wish to sign or circulate recall petitions.
“This information will help combat any scurrilous myths being disseminated about who is eligible to sign and circulate recall petitions,” he said. “We will continue to monitor all fronts on this fight to ensure people’s rights are protected.”
Democrats need to collect 540,206 valid signatures in a 60-day period to force a recall election against Walker. Under Wisconsin law, any elected official who has served at least one year of their current term can be recalled from office.
Last week, Democrats announced they had gathered 105,000 signatures in just four days.
Democrats gained two seats in the Wisconsin Senate in recall elections this summer, but fell short of the three seats needed to gain a majority. Three recall elections against Democratic state senators were unsuccessful.
Both Republicans and Democrats claimed victory in the recall elections. But Democrats noted that 5 of 6 recall elections took place in Republican-leaning districts, exposing the vulnerability of Republicans in the 2012 elections. In total, Democrats won 5 of the 9 recall contests.
Watch the group’s press conference below:
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