Walker recall petition overshoots requirement by nearly 200,000 signatures

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, January 16, 2012 11:18 EDT
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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Image via AFP.
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If Wisconsin’s Democrats are to be believed, the recall of Gov. Scott Walker (R) is on and just needs to be made official.

With Tuesday’s deadline fast approaching, The New York Times reports that Wisconsin’s activists are prepared to submit about 720,000 petition signatures, far surpassing the 540,000 needed to trigger a recall election later this year.

Before the election can proceed, the state’s election board will have to build a $100,000 database of registered voters and check each petition signature against the list. Assuming that more than 540,000 entries are valid, Walker will face the possibility of being only the third governor in U.S. history to be removed by recall election.

The election will likely not be held until mid-summer, due to the time it will take to build the database and verify the petition. The election board actually asked for more time than what’s allotted under the law, and plans to conduct the examination at an undisclosed location.

Signatures were collected by about 25,000 activists coordinated by Wisconsin unions and the Democratic Party, which aimed their anger at Walker after he attempted to strip public employees like teachers and firefighters of their right to collectively bargain with the government for better wages and benefits.

Even if the recall moves forward, it’s not clear if voters will choose to fire the governor. Polling in November found that support for recalling Walker had grown over 2011 to a majority position, with one survey by Wisconsin Public Radio and St. Norbert College claiming 58 percent favored the recall.

That figure represented triple the number of Republicans who agreed with recalling Walker just a few months earlier, going from 7 percent to 24 percent from spring to fall.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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