Calvinball in Wisconsin continues.
After the successful recall of two Republican state Senators, the next target by the youth/labor/progressive alliance in the state is Scott Walker. Under Wisconsin law, petitioners have to wait until Walker has been in office a year to submit a recall petition. This gives Walker and his cronies in the legislature ample time to change the recall process.
Republican lawmakers signaled Tuesday that they will likely give Gov. Scott Walker authority over how recall petitions can be gathered, just as Democrats gear up to recall him next year.
The move would allow Walker to halt a policy developed by nonpartisan election officials that, at least in theory, could make it easier for groups to gather signatures to recall the governor, as well as legislators from either party.
“You have given the governor control of the chicken coop, so to say,” Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) told Republicans.
The changes wouldn’t quite mandate new rules so much as they would give Governor Walker control over the Government Accountability Board, the nonpartisan outfit that decides election law in the state. GAB policies would have to be made into administrative rules, which the Governor can basically veto. The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules, a legislative committee, would have the ability to approve or alter the rules as well.
This would impact a rule from the GAB this month that would allow online signature gathering:
The accountability board this month ruled 5-1 that groups could use an online component to gathering recall petitions, though they stressed that voters could not electronically sign the petitions or submit them by computer.
Normally, circulators collect signatures at public gatherings and on street corners and then submit their petitions to the accountability board. The policy the accountability board adopted would allow people to instead access a form online that had their address already filled out. They could print it, sign it and send it to the recall group.
That could be a help to groups intending to recall Walker because they have developed databases of thousands of his opponents. They could use that information to email tailor-made forms that were already filled in. The individuals would still have to sign and date them and mail them in.
This would also impact a rule change from the GAB that would let universities add a sticker to student ID cards that would make them eligible as voter IDs under a new law that Republicans passed earlier in the year.
This is all being done to protect Walker in both the recall petition process and the election, should it ever come to that. Democracy is getting to be a bit much for Wisconsin Republicans.