Facing One Million Recall Signatures, “disenfranchise” finally appears in Walker, GOP vocabulary

In an interview with Badger Democracy last week, prior to the filing of one million signatures to recall Scott Walker, Wisconsin GOP Chair Ben Sparks stated he was concerned by the potential “disenfranchisement” of Wisconsin voters. When asked “…if approximately 800,000 signatures are filed next week (to recall Walker), at what point does that become so overwhelming a number when compared to the 540,000 necessary, does continuing challenges become absurd?” Sparks replied “The GOP is concerned that millions of Wisconsinites who didn’t sign the petition could be disenfranchised by this process – that is our concern.” The irony of his statement seemed to elude Sparks.

Throughout the 2011 legislative session, Scott Walker and the GOP did nothing to accept the existence of disenfranchisement of voters. During the highly partisan redistricting, whose process was so rushed that it is now virtually impossible for the GAB and municipalities to work with – the GOP failed to heed warnings of disenfranchisement.

During the debate over voter ID, the GOP failed to heed warnings of disenfranchisement, and now face multiple lawsuits citing exactly that issue, and with merit.

Now, facing multiple recall elections due to an overwhelming number of recall signatures, the word “disenfranchise” has suddenly appeared in the GOP vernacular. The constitutionality of this recall process, and the true nature of the grassroots  effort continues to elude (or be denied) by Scott Walker and his allies. The only disenfranchisement that will potentially take place exists in continuing legal challenges to stall the inevitable. And the GAB should be commended for the process it has put in place to verify signatures – making so-called “signature verification” apparatus of the GOP unnecessary and irrelevant.

The GAB has installed a webcam at the secret location where petitions are being scanned for public access and verification. In addition, a “Recall Blog” will be updated daily on the GAB website. Scott Walker and the GOP can watch the process unfold, in full public view, all day and night – the outcome will remain the same.

Just as Badger Democracy posed the question of inevitability to Ben Sparks, the Wisconsin Democratic Party has called Scott Walker on his bluff of “wanting a recall election as soon as possible” so he can be elected a second time. The Dems have submitted a stipulation to Scott Walker to be signed acknowledging an overwhelming number of signatures to call a recall election; and waive legal challenges to the process once the GAB has certified sufficiency of the petition. The letter to Scott Walker from Mike Tate (Wis Dem Chair) delivered today clearly addresses the expediency which Walker has claimed to desire in this process, and calls Walker on his bluff.

It is time for Walker and the GOP to accept the inevitable – their overreach has caused this incredible grassroots movement will eventually return Wisconsin to its progressive roots. They will continue their desperate attempts to pass radical legislation in their waning days. It is the people’s obligation to protect the process we have started, and will finish in the coming months and year by commissioning new Senators and a Governor.

Bring on the debate, the primary, the election. Stand tall Wisconsin, and Solidarity!

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