Even though Governor Scott Walker’s campaign has decided not to challenge signatures on recall petitions, Tea Party groups say they will be turning over their own findings to state election officials. Officials with Verify the Recall, a combination of organizations working together to check the more than 143,000 pages of signatures submitted to the Government Accountability Board last month, hope to submit that information within the next few days.
Spokesman Larry Gamble says there are many possible problems they have been looking for. He says their examination has worked to identify and investigate questionable signatures or fake names, along with potential fraud.
While the state Government Accountability Board says state law will not allow them to consider challenges from third party groups, Gamble says they hope the information that have gathered will help the agency identifying additional signatures that should be disqualified from the petitions. GAB staff has been working to review the petitions on their own during the past month.
Verify the Recall say it has found almost 55,000 invalid signatures that are invalid and another 228,000 that need further investigation. The group also claims the number of signatures turned in was only around 820,000, far below the over one million recall organizers say they submitted.
Democrats are disputing those claims, saying the recall groups have failed to count all of the petition pages that were actually turned in to the state. In addition, Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Graeme Zielinski says the Tea Party groups are using inaccurate information to argue signatures should be removed. He says it’s an attempt to use a smoke screen to smear the will of the people.
The Government Accountability Board has until March 19th to verify enough valid signatures were turned in and to order a recall election.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:16)