Scott Walker Abandons Fight Against Special Elections

Scott Walker Grin

Gov. Scott Walker's scramble to avoid holding special elections for two open seats Wisconsin's state legislature has been thwarted.

Republican legislative leaders responded by announcing Friday that they would reconvene the Senate and Assembly to pass a bill that would change special election laws.

That meant it could have theoretically halted the special election process for the 1st Senate and 42nd Assembly districts, despite the governor's order.

In his one-page ruling. The court denied the request Wednesday afternoon, writing that electing representatives is never a waste of tax dollars and Walker is obligated to order special elections.

"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".

DOJ had filed Walker's appeal in District 2, which covers the conservative Milwaukee suburbs and the Fox Valley, rather than District 4, which covers liberal Dane County. The primaries will be on May 15 and the general election on June 12.

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Reynolds noted in her ruling that while the Legislature's regular 2018 session had ended, Walker had a history of calling lawmakers back into special session to debate specific issues. The bill would ensure that neither seat is filled until January. But Michael Haas, a lawyer for the elections commission, said if Walker calls the special elections today as ordered, the election could take place as early as June 5 with nominating petitions due April 10, five days before the petitions begin circulating for the fall election. Spokesman Reid Magney said the commission stopped tracking costs previous year after commissioners discontinued the practice because state law doesn't require it to do so. Walker had argued that the issue was moot since the legislature planned to change the law.

Fitzgerald said people would still have representation since Assembly and Senate districts overlap.

Democratic Sen. Mark Miller questioned why Fitzgerald introduced the bill immediately following the judge's order. The appellate court refused to delay the order. Keith Ripp and then-Sen. They moved to change the special election law - and make it retroactive. Vacancies would be filled in the regular November election.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker says Wisconsin law doesn't require him to hold special elections for two legislative seats, which some say his party could have trouble keeping.

Holder's group and Wisconsin Democrats have countered that the calendar would have made more sense if Walker had scheduled the races when the seats were first vacated in late December 2017, and that there was no justification for leaving two districts unrepresented for over a year.

It also would allow special-election candidates to campaign longer and remove a requirement allowing only US citizens to act as witnesses of someone casting a military or overseas ballot.

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