A Waukesha County judge has ordered the state elections agency to take steps to remove false-and-duplicate names from recall petitions. In the past, the agency only removed illegal signatures if they were challenged by the targets of the recall effort.
But Thursday, Circuit Judge Mac Davis told the Government Accountability Board to “apply sound judgment and discretion,” and investigate and delete names that might be suspect.
Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and the head of the state GOP filed suit, saying they shouldn’t be the ones to have to find illegal signatures as Walker and four other GOP politicians face possible recall elections later this year.
Davis said the law still allows for candidates to challenge signatures – but the board does not have to wait for a challenge before it can delete those which are obviously improper.
Board director Kevin Kennedy says his agency will figure out the best way to comply with the order. They plan to ask the Legislature for more money to carry out the task of reviewing up to 1.5 million recall signatures which are expected to be filed with the agency by January 17th.
During the court hearing, Kennedy said the board was considering the creation of a database and entering names by hand – which could take a couple of months. He said a vendor could scan the petitions quicker, but it would cost just under $100,000.