Wisconsin recall moves forward at high cost and with high controversy

The recall action against Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is going forward but at a significant cost to local municipalities and with a significant fight over the privacy of residents that signed recall petitions. Cash strapped municipalities are facing thousands in additional costs that will result from a special election. Citizens and privacy advocates are also fighting the state Government Accountability Board over how to publish recall signatures as victims of stalking and other harassment that signed the petitions are calling for anonymity.

The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune is reporting that thousands of dollars are already being spent state wide to simply provide facilities suitable for a special election. Additional data from TPM says that the overall cost for the recall could be $100 million or more in a mix of campaign spending and costs to taxpayers.

Municipal clerks throughout the state have explained that the net cost of the recall will depend on which date the recall is held and if potential Democratic rivals will have a primary. Holding both a special primary and special election will add significantly to the bottom line whereas a special election held in addition to an already scheduled election will keep costs low. Given the amount of outside money flooding into both Democratic and Republican war chests, a low cost solution is unlikely. Although the resulting budget damage may have serious ramifications.

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board which is tasked with validating the signatures on recall petitions is also facing some steep pushback from signatories. Originally, the Government Accountability Board planned to post the names and addresses of those who signed petitions for recall online. However, residents that are victims of domestic violence or other attacks and those that would simply like their privacy are raising objections to posting this information online.

The Walker campaign was already given the signatures and now has 30 days to challenge their validity. 540,000 valid signatures are needed to force a recall. Recall supporters claim to have doubled that.

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