Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Futile Attempt to De-legitimize the Wisconsin Recall Process

Since the Recall Walker effort announce that they collected 300,000 signatures in the first 12 days of the collection period Scott (on Nov. 28th), Walker's allies have gone on the offense to try and discredit the signature drive. There's a graph in yesterday's Christian Schneider piece in NRO that summarizes the principle point:

[I]f someone signs a petition 30 times, 29 will be invalid — but only if Scott Walker’s campaign can manually enter all 540,000 signatures into a database and weed out the duplicates in the 10 days in which they have to challenge.  Fabricated names and addresses will all be considered legal unless Walker’s volunteers can pick through hundreds of thousands of signatures and weed them out in the allotted time period.  (In Ohio recently, 351,000 — or over 25% — of union-submitted signatures were found to be invalid.)
Fair enough, but that's Ohio and there's little reason to use another state as a reference point when when we have recent data right here in Wisconsin (unless, of course, you're more interested in taking a pot-shot at unions, which is clearly Schneider's intention here).

Let's look at the numbers from last spring's senate recalls:

Of the six districts that eventually held elections a total of 97,997 signatures were required to initiate those recalls. By the end of the collection period approximately 148,700 signatures had been collected (according to media reports, the GAB never released the number of signatures submitted). That's 51.7% more than were required. The GAB validated 136,823 of those signatures (or 39.6% more than were required), which gave the recall effort a 92% validation rate.

There are other ways in which Walker allies are trying to de-legitimatize the process. Scott Walker himself has repeatedly portrayed the collection effort has being "paid" for by someone of something, despite a lack of evidence. Then there's the the Verify the Recall effort being organized by a pair of Tea Party groups, which seems like it plans to conduct its own verification project. The folks at the McIver PR firm are trying to de-legitimize the GAB itself.

The fact of the matter is,according to the GAB itself, is that the "step-by-step processes are still be[ing] finalized." Given the delay and logistics problems that arose last spring during the senate recall validation process, one would assume those processes aren't going to be resolved until the signatures are delivered. [MORE: Wouldn't you know it, the GAB just came out with a pretty detailed memo on how the recall signatures will be verified this evening.]

If the only thing the GOP has going for it at the moment is a desperate attempt to de-legitimize a process that continues to move forward, then they are in effect whistle past the graveyard. I certainly had my doubts, but as the recalls proceed it becomes more and more evident that the Dems developed a very intricate long term plan and have generally kept to it. I don't get that impression from the state GOP. IN fact if the Dems dropped a truckload of signatures off at the GAB this afternoon, I'm pretty sure Walker et al. would be caught flat-footed.


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