Monday, April 4, 2011

The Wisconsin Recall Process and Timeline

Summary: What to know about State Senate Recalls in Wisconsin this year.

On Friday, grassroots organizers in the La Crosse area announced they had collected more than twice as many signatures as they needed to recall GOP State Senator Dan Kapanke.

Many Wisconsinites, and non-Wisconsinites alike, have been asking about the exact process and timeline for the recall of state senators this year.

This is the jist of it.

The recall process is complex and, due to the unprecedented number of recall efforts happening at the same time, specific timelines for recalls in any individual State Senate district are uncertain.

Petition Due Dates
Recall petitioners have 60 days to collect the appropriate number of signatures needed to initiate a recall election following the registration of their committees.

The number of signatures a recall petition committee needs to collect is equal to 25% of the number of votes in the most recent race for Governor in that district.

The following table reviews the petition due dates and signatures needed for every State Senator facing recall efforts.

*Recall petitions completed.

Timeline for Recall Elections

General Timeline

The normal timeline (according to state law) for recall elections is as follows:

*Depending on when the closest Tuesday is to that timeline.

Thus, the earliest any general recall election will take place (Kapanke’s) would be July 19th. The latest any recall election (Lassa’s and Hansen’s) can happen this year is September 6th.

Consolidated Recall Elections

The Government Accountability Board has not yet determined what actions it may take to try to consolidate recall elections to the same dates. There is no rule or legislation in Wisconsin for consolidating recall elections because no one ever thought there would be this many recall efforts happening simultaneously.

Nonetheless, the GAB has indicated that they may use the court system to consolidate these elections, arguing that it is unfair to voters who might be confused as to what exact date they are supposed to vote in the recall election in their district.