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Task of verifying nearly two million signatures will take time

By: Amelia Cerling, Chris Baylor & WEAU 13 News Staff Email
By: Amelia Cerling, Chris Baylor & WEAU 13 News Staff Email

(WEAU) - On Tuesday boxes upon boxes holding signed petitions were brought to the Government Accountability Board.

Crowds cheered as recall Walker organizers carried in box after box of what they say is more than one million signatures. That's almost more than double the amount needed to trigger a recall of Republican Governor Scott Walker, who spent Tuesday far away from Wisconsin. He was at a fundraiser in New York. With signatures being handed in Tuesday, the state has taken the next step into a possible recall election. The Government Accountability Board says it doesn't know how long it will take to review roughly 1.9 million signatures to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker and five other politicians.

"We dealt with a large number of petitions in 2011 but this is likely ten times as much work,” Kevin Kennedy with the GAB.

The law requires the GAB review to be finished in 31 days, but the board says it will take longer to look at more than a million signatures. It says it would like at least 60 days to do the review. Recall supporters arrived Tuesday with boxes of signatures in hand all day in efforts to recall not only Governor Walker, but Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald as well as three other republican state senators.

Local voters are split on what they think about the recall.

"I believe it's a waste of time. I like how we're out of a deficit and I think Scott Walker is doing the right thing," says Thomas O'Halloran.

"I'm in support of a society where people can talk and come to common ground, honor opinions and look at facts. Walker has been the antithesis of that," says Mark Ruddy.

The organizers have been dropping their signed petitions off at the government accountability board in downtown Madison. Chief Election Officer Kevin Kennedy held a press conference Tuesday afternoon saying his staff has close to two million signatures to verify, which will take at least two months if not more time to look over. This means if a recall election is held it won't be until June if not later in the summer.

“This has been a very polarizing process with a lot of tensions that came up during the start of the recall process. We are hoping we can complete the recall process that will be fitting of Wisconsin’s commitment to open and transparent government, but also reasoned and civil resolution of those issues,” Kennedy says.

Tuesday Governor Scott Walker said he expects voters to stand by him in any recall election and will campaign on his record. WEAU recently sat down with the Governor to get his take on the recall.

"I'm going to run a campaign to win but I'm not afraid to lose. To me if you do things for the right reasons long term people will see what we’re doing is historic here in Wisconsin and even maybe in the county. It will show we stood up and did the right thing. We thought more about the next generation then we did about just the next election," says Governor Walker.

Walker has already spent the last couple of months aggressively campaigning both across the state and the country. In mid December he announced he had already raised $5.1 million, half of that from out of state.

"What we're seeing here in Wisconsin is something that's proving to be more powerful than money and that's the power of the people. This is a real grass roots effort all across the state. Rural people, urban people, suburban people are all pulling together and say we're going to take our government back," said Democratic State Senator Kathleen Vinehout during the Ed Show on MSNBC Tuesday night.

Our political analyst, John Frank, says if the Government Accountability Board gets through the signatures in 60 days, like it wants to, we could see a democratic primary near the end of May with a special election in June. However he says that's all the processes go smoothly.


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