Elections

Vos derides recall effort as Wisconsin Supreme Court considers question over district boundaries

Republican Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is deriding supporters of former President Donald Trump who are trying to recall him from office as the state Supreme Court prepares to consider which legislative districts should be in play for any elections before November 2024.

Associated Press

March 19, 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. A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on March 19 asked for arguments within two days related to a question over what legislative boundaries should be in place for a potential recall election, targeting Vos, organized by supporters of former President Donald Trump. (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)


AP News

By Scott Bauer, AP

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s top Republican derided supporters of former President Donald Trump who are trying to recall him from office as “whack jobs” and “morons,” predicting March 19 that their effort would fail and they would be subject to fraud charges.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is being targeted for recall because he refused to impeach the state’s top elections official or proceed with attempting to decertify President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Wisconsin. His actions angered Trump, who accused Vos of covering up election corruption, while Trump’s followers mounted an unsuccessful primary challenge in 2022 and are now trying to force a recall election.

Vos lashed out at recall organizers at a WisPolitics.com luncheon on March 19, saying organizers are “so out of touch with reality.”

“The people who did this? Whack jobs and morons,” he said.

Recall organizers did not return a message seeking comment.

They submitted petitions on March 11. An initial review by the Wisconsin Elections Commission determined they did not have enough valid signatures from the district Vos was most recently elected to serve in 2022. Also, numerous people have said their signatures were forged, leading to an investigation by the Racine County district attorney.

Recall organizers on March 18 said that some “unverified petitions slipped through due to a volunteer oversight,” but they called it an isolated mistake. Vos has until March 21 to challenge signatures.

Vos said he has found “a ton of fraud,” including up to 400 duplicated signatures, missing and misspelled information, and the names of people who didn’t actually sign, including his own. He predicted fewer than half the nearly 11,000 signatures submitted will be found to be valid. Vos said he hoped the elections commission would refer to local prosecutors anyone determined to have committed a crime related to the petition circulation.

It’s not clear what legislative district boundary lines should be used for determining what signatures are valid, how many are needed and where any recall election would take place. The bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, to address that uncertainty, asked the state Supreme Court on March 11 to decide which maps should be used for any recall or special election that’s held before November.

The liberal-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court in December tossed the legislative maps that were last used in 2022 and barred them from being used in future elections. The new maps signed into law in February by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers don’t take effect until November.

The court, in a 5-2 order on March 19, gave all parties in the redistricting case until Thursday to file a response to the request for clarity from the Elections Commission.

Conservative Chief Justice Annette Ziegler, along with Justice Rebecca Bradley, dissented. At best, they said, any action by the court is premature because the question was not properly before the court. They also noted that no recall election has been ordered yet.

The commission has until April 11 to determine whether a recall election should be called. Either side can challenge its decision in court.

“The court should not even pretend to be poised to issue a decision in a nonexistent case presenting a hypothetical question,” Ziegler and Bradley wrote.

The question about district boundaries the justices are being asked to resolve is “a thorny and complicated matter not easily answered, even if we were the law firm for WEC,” they said.

They blamed the confusion over district boundaries on the liberal court majority that overturned the legislative maps and ordered new ones.

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