Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Signature reset: What is the signature requirement for a recall rerun? Does the recall reset it for every office in Wisconsin?

Now, this may be academic (though since there are six races outstanding, maybe not), but I've long wondered what the signature requirements are for a recall rerun.

Wisconsin's law requires that in any recall, from Governor to school board, petitioners must get 25% of voter turnout for the office of the Governor in the last gubernatorial election. The first question is what does last Gubernatorial election mean? Does that mean 2010 or the recall? And, the second question, which is vastly more important for local races, is that since it says for the office of the Governor, how does the change affect recalls for other offices -- say a local mayor or school board member who people may want to recall? Do they count the vote numbers from 2010 or the presumably much higher 2012 numbers?

Looking at the law, I would think it is 2012. I emailed with Professor Rick Hasen back in 2003, and he wrote it about it noting the possible ambiguity in the case of California, but California's law is written differently (it talks about the last vote, not the last gubernatorial election). California's rules are also different for local jurisdictions, so there wouldn't be the same impact on local races.

So does this law reset all recall ballot signatures requirements throughout the state? I don't know of any ongoing petitioning in Wisconsin, but if there are when does the new requirement start applying? And does that mean that it much harder to get a recall on the ballot for a mayor?

From my plain reading, this probably unintended result means that it will be about 15% (whatever the voter turnout increase is from the recall) or so harder to get a recall on the ballot in Wisconsin. We'll chalk this up to another of the recall laws not being thought through.

1 comment:

  1. It seems like the plain language of the Constitution would require recalls between now and 2014 to use the 2012 numbers.

    "The recall petition shall be signed by electors equalling at least twenty-five percent of the vote cast for the office of governor at the last preceding election, in the state, county or district which the incumbent represents."