A Dane County Judge is giving the Government Accountability Board more time to review recall petitions filed against members of the state Senate. The decision comes after the GAB argued the process of verifying thousands of signatures turned in over the past month is taxing its resources.
Department of Justice Attorney Lewis Beilin asked a judge on Friday to extend the deadline to certify those petitions. Beilin says the process of checking signatures in recall efforts now filed against nine senators has caused an extraordinary burden.
Dane County Judge John Markson agreed that the agency has been making “all best efforts” to get the work done, and granted an extension that gives the GAB until the end of May to address challenges to the recall petitions and to certify them.
The Judge also ruled that eight of the recall elections can be held on the same day, if the petitions are valid. The decision means voters in those districts would likely head to the polls on July 12th.
Attorney Jeremy Levinson, who represents groups that filed petitions against GOP lawmakers, argued against pushing back recall elections for state Senators Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) and Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) by several weeks. He says those petitions were among the first filed and the decision amounts to giving them an extra month in office without having to face voters.
Friday’s decision does not impact a recall petition filed this week against state Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay). If those signatures result in an election, the GAB says it will be held at a later date.