Wisconsin Supreme Court declines to clarify map question for potential recall election

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has refused to offer clarity on which legislative districts map should be used for a potential recall election of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, saying the state elections commission has the responsibility to administer elections.

Associated Press

April 3, 2024 • Southeast Region

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A portion of a map shows the outlines and municipalities included in Wisconsin Assembly districts in Racine County and surrounding areas.

A map shows a portion of the Wisconsin Assembly districts in place over the course of 2023, including Assembly District 63, represented by Speaker Robin Vos. The Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 3, 2024, refused to offer clarity on what legislative district boundary lines should be in play for a potential recall election targeting Vos as new maps are put into place for the November 2024 election. (Source: Wisconsin Legislative Technology Services Bureau)

By Scott Bauer, AP

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 3 refused to offer clarity on what legislative district boundary lines should be in play for a potential recall election sought by supporters of former President Donald Trump targeting the Republican Assembly speaker.

The effort to recall Speaker Robin Vos appears to have not gathered enough valid signatures to force an election. But the Wisconsin Elections Commission had asked the Supreme Court to clarify what maps should be used for any recall or special election that takes place before November, when new maps take effect.

The court, in a unanimous order, noted that in December it had ruled that the legislative maps then in place were unconstitutional and barred their future use. In February, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed into law maps he proposed that the Republican-controlled Legislature passed.

Those are the maps take effect in November. The court’s order leaves open the question of what maps are in effect for any election before November.

“We decline to further clarify or amend the opinion and order,” the court said, referring to its December ruling.

It is the Wisconsin Elections Commission, not the Supreme Court, that has the responsibility to administer elections, the court said.

The next move will be up to the commission, which faces an April 11 deadline to determine whether the recall petition had sufficient signatures to trigger an election. Its decision can be appealed in court.

Commission spokesperson Riley Vetterkind had no comment on the court’s order.

The commission, based on its initial cursory review, determined there were not enough valid signatures collected from residents of the district Vos was elected to represent. But Vos’ district lines are changing under legislative maps that take effect in November.

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, who challenged the validity of thousands of signatures and declared the effort failed no matter what district lines are used, has derided those targeting him as “whack jobs and morons.”

Recall organizers, recognizing that their initial effort was likely short of the needed signatures, launched a second recall effort on March 27.

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.

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