Wisconsin democracy in action! Politicians are elected to serve the interests of their constituents, if politicians instead brazenly serve the interest of their corporate masters, then they should suffer the consequences.
So how’s the drive to recall Wisconsin GOP state senators going? If these new numbers the Wisconsin Democratic Party shares with me are accurate, it’s already exceeding expectations in a big way.
Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the party, tells me that activists working on the recall push already collected over the weekend 15 percent of the total necessary signatures needed to force recalls in all eight of the GOP districts Dems are targeting. He says that the party — which is helping to coordinate and keeping track of outside efforts to gather signatures — set itself a goal of 10,000 signatures for the weekend, and has already exceeded it by 35 percent.
Zielinski also claims that recall forces over the weekend put more than 2,000 volunteers on the street to collect signatures. He also says volunteers have collected 26 percent of the signatures required in one district, and 20 percent in another, though he wouldn’t say which ones, because Dems want GOP senators to fret that they are the ones in question.
If these numbers are close to accurate, they are a surprising sign of the power of the grassroots energy uncorked by Scott Walker’s union-busting proposals. Under Wisconsin law, a recall requires a number of signatures totaling 25 percent of the number that voted in the last gubernatorial election.
…Also: As Ben Smith pointed out yesterday, the mechanics of recall drives favor unions, because of their organizing ability, and because many Republicans in Wisconsin occupy swing districts. Fourteen out of 19 GOP state senators preside over districts carried in 2008 by Obama.
(click here to continue reading The Plum Line – Drive to recall Wisconsin GOP senators gaining steam, Dems say.)
Wisconsin requires petitioners to gather enough signatures to equal 25% of the votes cast in the most recent race for governor in the district of the targeted legislator, a daunting number. That barrier is even higher in some states – it’s 40% in Kansas – and lower in others – 12% in California for governor, 20% for state legislators.
Wisconsin law also dictates that a year must pass after the election of the targeted official before he or she can be recalled. In some states, that period is only 90 days.
That means that in the Wisconsin Senate, only the 16 members elected in 2008 are eligible to be recalled this year.
Recall drives have now been officially launched against every one, some by more than one committee, Kevin Kennedy, the state’s top election official, said Sunday. The other 17, elected in 2010, could be targeted for recall next year, as could the governor. It would take more than 540,000 valid signatures to force a recall election against Walker in 2011.
The other hurdle in Wisconsin for recall organizers is that they have only 60 days once they formally organize to gather the needed signatures – in some states that period is much longer. The signatures needed for the recall drives now under way range from 11,817 in Milwaukee Democrat Spencer Coggs’ district to 20,973 in the district of New Berlin Republican Mary Lazich.
In interviews last week, some experts said Wisconsin’s short window for petitions and the large number of signatures required means that recall efforts will need significant funding and paid canvassers.
On the other hand, social media offers today’s activists a tool that didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago to rapidly mobilize and coordinate grass-roots political activity.
“I think this may actually become more common because of social media,” Moncrief said.
Under the timetables in state law, the 60-day petition period that’s under way in 16 Senate districts is followed by a 31-day period where signatures are challenged, defended and reviewed. That period can be extended by a court.
If enough signatures are declared valid, an election is scheduled for six weeks later. If more than one challenger in the same party files papers, then that election serves as the party primary, followed four weeks later by a general election.
(click here to continue reading Recall drives could make history – JSOnline.)