Signing a recall petition for an elected official in Wisconsin more than once could be a felony, under a bill being considered at the Capitol.
The proposal comes in response to reports of people signing recall petitions against the governor multiple times, with one man claiming to have done so more than 80 times. Currently there is no penalty for signing a petition more than once, although only one signature will be counted.
The bill was introduced by Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon). Eric Bott, a member of Fitzgerald’s staff, testified at a recent Capitol hearing that the change is needed so people do not attempt to defraud the recall process by signing petitions multiple times. Republicans have argued petitions against the governor, lieutenant governor, and four GOP state senators may have inflated signature totals because individuals may have signed more than once.
Democrats say the bill is nothing more than a blatant attempt to intimidate recall supporters. State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) says the bill is an overreaction to what was likely an isolated incident. She says it’s offensive to imply people signing petitions are liars
The Milwaukee Democrat says a process is already in place to catch duplicate signatures so they will not be counted and the bill is only “meant to scare people from ever signing a recall petition again.”
Opponents of the bill also note that the issue of multiple signatures only came up after online comments by Walker supporters, who indicated they planned to circulate fake recall petitions.
An Assembly committee is considering the bill.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (:59)