Walker makes another stop in EC, addresses special election decision

01 April, 2018, 00:54 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Update: Legislative leaders said Thursday that the extraordinary session scheduled for next Wednesday, to take up the bill that would have nullified the judge's order, has been canceled. The bill would prohibit special elections from being held after spring elections in years that also have fall legislative elections. 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.

The seats were vacated in December when two members made a decision to join his administration.

Walker has refused to order special elections to fill Rep. Keith Ripp and Sen.

Last week, a Dane County judge ordered the governor to issue a writ that for calls for the special elections by noon today.

Walker's attorney with the state Department of Justice argued it makes no sense to call the special elections given that the Legislature plans to change the law to bar them from being held. A judge denied Walker's request, and the governor decided Wednesday not to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.

Democrats sued Walker over that refusal, saying he was violating a state law requiring that special elections be called as promptly as possible for vacancies. Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is the author of the measure.

Fitzgerald introduced the bill after a judge ordered Gov. Scott Walker to schedule special elections to fill two legislative vacancies.

"The concern for military voters did not seem to be high on your radar, and you're a former military man yourself", Miller said.

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"With consolidated timelines attached to elections that are occurring outside the regular election schedule, there is confusion over how overseas voters are to be notified of not only the existence of an election, but the deadlines for requesting and submitting ballots", Fitzgerald says.

Democrats had accused Walker of refusing to call the special elections out of fear Republicans would lose the seats. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, who resigned last November to become Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary.

Another person who spoke in favor of the bill was William Richardson of Middleton.

After Richardson spoke, a steady stream of opponents lined up to testify.

"It couldn't be more transparent what's happening here", Kathleen Finnerty, chairwoman of the Door County Democratic Party, told the committee.

"Today marks three months since SD-1 and AD-42 became vacant, and citizens of those districts must now wait until June 12 - almost half a year - to have representation again", said Bowen.

"It couldn't be more transparent as to what is happening here". "The governor is afraid of having a Democrat elected into this position". Wisconsin is now the only state that requires that such witnesses be US citizens. It could mean lawmakers would reconvene this summer to redraw the maps - and not everyone would be at the table. Spokesman Reid Magney said the commission stopped tracking costs past year after commissioners discontinued the practice because state law doesn't require it to do so.


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