First campaign to recall Vos falls short on valid signatures

A Wisconsin Elections Commission review found an effort by supporters of former President Donald Trump to recall Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos did not gather enough signatures to trigger an election and therefore should be rejected.

Associated Press

April 10, 2024

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Robin Vos stands and faces a microphone, with a high-backed leather and wood chair and a Wisconsin flag behind him, in a room with wood paneling featuring carved relief crests.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos presides over a session of the state Assembly on Jan. 24, 2024, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. The Wisconsin Elections Commission on April 10 released its findings that an effort to recall Vos fell short on the number of signatures needed to trigger an election. (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

AP News

By Scott Bauer, AP

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The effort by supporters of former President Donald Trump to recall Wisconsin’s top elected Republican did not gather enough signatures to trigger the recall election and therefore should be rejected, state elections officials said April 10.

Trump backers angry with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos launched the recall effort, citing his refusal to decertify President Joe Biden’s narrow win in the state in 2020. Vos further angered Trump supporters when he did not back a plan to impeach Meagan Wolfe, the state’s top elections official.

Trump also renewed his criticism of Vos and Wolfe.

Vos dismissed petition organizers as “whack jobs and morons” and said previously that the effort had failed after challenging the validity of thousands of signatures.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission was expected to formally reject the Vos recall effort for not gathering enough valid signatures on April 11.

Staff at the commission said in a memo released April 10 that based on their review the effort did not collect enough valid signatures. The effort was complicated over what district should be used for any recall election, given that new boundary lines take effect in November.

But the staff review found that no matter what district is used — the one Vos was elected to serve in 2022 or either of the two new ones that comprise parts of the old district — the recall did not gather enough signatures.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 3 declined a request from the elections commission to clarify what district boundaries should be used in any recall.

Vos is the most powerful Republican in the GOP-led Legislature. He was first elected in 2004 and is the longest-serving Assembly speaker in state history, holding the post since 2013.

He did not return a message seeking comment. Recall organizers also did not return a message.

Recall organizers, recognizing that their initial effort was likely short of the needed signatures, launched a second recall effort in March.

Trump, in an interview on The Regular Joe radio show on April 9 lobbed more criticism at Vos and renewed calls for Wolfe to be removed.

“I’ve heard so much about Meagan Wolfe, and it’s like unanimous, she shouldn’t be there,” Trump said. “And Robin Vos, who’s a Republican, is allowing her to be there. I don’t understand it. I can’t imagine it.”

Wolfe is one of the most respected elections officials in the nation. She has served as president of the National Association of State Election Directors and chair of the bipartisan Electronic Registration Information Center, which helps states maintain accurate voter rolls.

Vos has blocked efforts by five Republicans in the Assembly to impeach Wolfe. Senate Republicans voted in September to fire Wolfe, despite objections from Democrats and the Legislature’s nonpartisan attorneys, who said the Senate didn’t have the authority to vote at that time because Wolfe was a holdover in her position and had not been reappointed.

Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul sued to challenge that vote, and in court filings, Republican legislative leaders changed course and claimed their vote to fire Wolfe was merely “symbolic” and had no legal effect.

A judge later ruled that Wolfe is legally holding her position.

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