Judge Rejects Walker's Request To Delay Election Order
01 April, 2018, 03:51 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
Thursday Governor Walker reluctantly scheduled special elections to fill two legislative seats that have been subjects of a court battle.
State law requires Walker to call special elections to fill legislative vacancies that occur before May in regular election years such as this one but he had refused to do so, calling the special elections a waste of taxpayer money with the seats coming up for election in the fall.
Reilly dismissed Walker's argument that the court should allow time for the Legislature to rewrite state law that would effectively block the special elections. He's scheduling special elections in the two districts (one for the Senate, one for the Assembly) for June 12, with primaries on May 15.
Niess, who said Reynolds' interpretation of the law was "spot on", said he viewed the fact that the Legislature is trying to amend the law as an "explicit concession" that Reynolds correctly interpreted the law. A Madison judge last week ordered him to order the special elections by noon Thursday.
Fitzgerald testified Wednesday that anywhere from 85 to 150 overseas voters, including some in the military, could be disenfranchised if the special elections proceed under the timeline set up in current state law.
Critics say voters in areas with no lawmaker for months don't have anyone representing them in the legislature. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, took jobs in the Walker administration.
State law says Walker had a plain legal duty to fill them "as promptly as possible".
Fitzgerald said people would still have representation since Assembly and Senate districts overlap.
When media outlets, public-interest groups and Democrats in the legislature objected to Walker's plan to leave nearly 250,000 Wisconsinites unrepresented for the better part of a year - and suggested, quite appropriately, that he was blocking elections in which his Republican allies might face defeat - the governor dismissed the complaints.
"We are moving forward with the public hearing on AB947 tomorrow", Fitzgerald said in a statement, referring to the bill, which also addresses procedures for filing absentee ballots.
But if Niess granted the extension and the new special elections legislation becomes law, Kilpatrick wrote, there would be only one set of nomination papers for each of the seats, not two, preventing candidate and voter confusion.
Nate Zimdars, 25, of Ripon said he was surprised when he learned his representative's seat could be vacant for more than a year.
Fitzgerald cited the special election to replace Republican state Sen.
Republicans control the governor's office, Legislature and state attorney general's office.
Democrats have argued that Walker is delaying these latest elections out of the fear that Republicans could lose.
"There is nothing more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote". Holder called the court decisions "a victory for the citizens of Wisconsin who are without representation because of Governor Walker's refusal to do his job".
A judge last week ordered Walker to schedule the elections by Thursday.
"A D.C. -based special interest group is forcing taxpayers to pay for special elections for seats that will be filled again in just a few short months", she said.
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