Under court order, Walker calls for special elections

DOJ considering

"The governor and Republican leaders are calling these elections "too expensive" and 'meaningless, ' yet the governor easily could have put these elections on the same schedule as he did the special election for the 10 Senate District, which took place two months after the seat became vacant", said Bowen.

Walker on March 28 reversed course and said he would not ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court to delay a court order that he call special elections to fill the legislative vacancies.

Fitzgerald told the Senate elections committee that oversea voters need more time to return ballots and holding special elections simultaneously with regular elections is a confusing waste.

Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Reynolds ruling would create chaos if allowed to stand because candidates for these special elections would be circulating nomination papers at the same time as candidates for the general election.

"Representative government and the election of our representatives are never "unnecessary, ' never a 'waste of taxpayer resources, ' and the calling of the special elections are as the Governor acknowledges, his 'obligation" to follow by virtue of (state statute)", read the court order from Judge Reilly, which declared that Walker "has an obligation to follow the law just as do we". Frank Lasee and former state Rep. Keith Ripp resigned to take jobs in the Walker administration.

Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds ordered Walker last week to call for the two elections by Thursday. "Walker and Republicans in the Legislature should stop trying to find new ways to keep the people they're supposed to represent from voting and finally hold the special elections". "Despite Gov. Walker's best attempts to block elections and deny 200,000 voters their constitutional right to representation, justice prevailed and the courts correctly ruled that Republicans can't ignore the law".

Passing a bill to effectively cancel the elections would throw a "monkey wrench" into the process, Fitzgerald said, and would raise the prospect of having "another judge slapping us down".

But Democrats say he's afraid Democrats will win, especially after the party pulled off an upset victory in a special state Senate election in December.


"Those voters are going to be deprived of their voice to be heard in a redistricting special session and I think that's absolutely important", Kessler says. Walker to not call special elections "as promptly as possible". It would also lead to longer legislative vacancies.

Meanwhile Wednesday, lawmakers moved forward on legislation to change when a governor must call a special election.

Current law states, during and election year, an election must be called when there's a vacancy on or before the second Tuesday in May.

The GOP-controlled Legislature plans to vote next week on a bill changing the special election law. Those changes include adding two months to the time between when a governor calls a special election to when the election is held, and expands the time between a primary and a general special election from four to eight weeks.

Last Thursday, Reynolds ruled that Walker had a "plain and positive duty" to call the elections, saying Walker's suggestion that the law gave him leeway was "absurd in its application".

If Ripp and Lasee's open seats were filled in November, the winners wouldn't have been sworn in until January, leaving Ripp and Lasee's constituents unrepresented for more than a year.

"Most people can remember there's an April election and there's a November election, and as soon as you start throwing in an election on May 29 or June 5, people are not geared to that", Richardson says.

Democrats contend Walker is dragging his feet because Republicans fear losing the seats. "It's demoralizing and unethical on your part".

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