Wisconsin Democrats, who are seeking to win a majority in the state Senate through recalls against six incumbent Republicans, have filed a challenge to Republican efforts to recall three Dems, alleging that vast levels of fraud will disqualify the Republican recall efforts against Democrats.
The Dems had previously announced that they would file such a challenge, citing stories of voters being misled into signing petitions. The Dems also alleged that Republican signature-gatherers were brought in from out of state and paid on a per-signature basis.
The Dems rolled rolled out their official complaint on Thursday, after making phone calls to almost 1,800 petition-signers, and acquiring affidavits from signers who say they were falsely told that the petitions were for other things — such as supporting a local park, recalling a Republican state senator in a different district, or recalling Gov. Scott Walker.
Also from the Dems’ announcement:
William Pocan’s forged name appears on line 10, page 362 of circulator Kevin Pursell’s petition. As his widow Corinne Pocan’s affidavit attests, William Pocan has been deceased 20 years, although his name remains in the phone book. Pursell circulated numerous pages.
William Pocan was the father of current Milwaukee County Judge William Pocan — and another son of his is none other than Democratic state Rep. Mark Pocan, a prominent member on the left of the legislature.
As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, Republicans predict that their recalls of Dem senators will hold up against Dem challenges:
In a statement, Republican Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Mark Jefferson called the challenge “an expensive waste of time, couched in hyperbole and hot air.”
“After harassing thousands of Wisconsin citizens in an attempt to intimidate them into removing their signatures, it appears Democrats found only a few hundred signatures to directly challenge, out of 60,000 submitted,” Jefferson said. “Even in the unlikely event their challenges of individuals’ signatures will be upheld, they fall far short of what is needed to prevent recall elections. The three Democrats will stand for election this summer.”
The state Senate currently has a 19-14 Republican majority, with Democrats hoping to pick up three seats in recall elections and win a majority, in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation. In order to initiate a recall, signatures of at least 25 percent of the number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election, within the targeted district, must be collected in a 60-day window.
Democrats have filed recall signatures against six Republicans: Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper, Luther Olsen, Sheila Harsdorf, Alberta Darling and Rob Cowles. Republicans have filed recall signatures against three Democrats: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch.
Under Wisconsin’s recall law, elected officials must have served at least one year of their term before being recalled — thus exempting the half of the Senate that was just elected in 2010. In addition, Dems have also declared their intention to recall Walker himself next year, when the one-year exemption runs out.