Wisconsin Democrats made a big announcement Thursday afternoon: That after 30 days, they have collected 507,000 signatures in their effort to trigger a recall campaign against Republican Gov. Scott Walker. This puts them almost at the goal of 540,000 signatures, at the halfway point of the 60-day petition period — and, they announced, they intend to go much, much further.
“The people of Wisconsin have said, enough is enough,” state party chairman Mike Tate said in a live Webcast. “In just one month, in just 30 days, in less than half the time granted, you have done something truly amazing.” Tate also announced a higher goal of 720,000, which would give the Dems a buffer putting them well beyond any efforts at disqualification or public discrediting by their opponents.
When asked by TPM, state party spokesman Graeme Zielinski said that the 507,000 figure does already take into account the party’s own efforts to screen out flawed signatures.
In order to trigger a recall against Walker, the Dems must meet a high bar: Signatures of at least 25 percent of the number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election must be collected in a 60-day window. That means the Dems must get over 540,000 signatures — over 9,000 per day, statewide — plus some significant buffer that campaigns routinely collect in order to protect against signatures being disqualified over one imperfection or another.
But now, from the Dems’ claim, they took only 30 days to reach where they had to be at Day 56.
In addition, the Dems are still clearing a key challenge in their effort to sustain the pace of the recall campaign: After months of build-up to the recall campaign, there would naturally be an initial rush of people to sign right away in the opening days, after which signature collection might significantly slow down. However, crunching the numbers does appear to show some significant degree of slowdown, though the pace is still in a healthy range.
A few weeks ago, the Dems had announced that in their first four days of the collection effort, they had taken in 105,000 signatures — which would calculate to 26,250 signatures per day. Then two and a half weeks ago they were at 300,000 signatures after 12 days, implying roughly 195,000 new signatures in eight days — which calculates to 24,375 signatures per day, a slowdown of only just over 7% from the first four days.
The new totals, however, imply roughly 207,000 signatures over 18 days, which works out to 11,500 per day. On the one hand, this shows a decline of more than 50% from earlier — but it’s still above the needed 9,000 per day average.
In order to reach their increased buffer goal of 720,000 signatures, the Dems will now need to keep it up at about 7,100 per day.