Democrats and their leftwing allies are touting the fact that they reached their 1 million-signature goal in the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker. Political observers on both sides of the spectrum had predicted that a recall would proceed because organizers would eventually get enough signatures to force Walker to defend his post less than two years after taking office.
While recall advocates only needed to gather 540,208 valid signatures to force an election, reaching the 1 million mark was a symbolic goal that they set to prove the strength of the movement. However, before judging their efforts a complete success, several factors must be noted.
First, the petition process was riddled with fraud and tainted with questionable ethics at several points. Early in the process the Soros-funded One Wisconsin Now encouraged those opposed to Walker to sign recall petitions multiple times. Although not necessarily an illegal act (unless there is the specific intent to commit fraud), signing a petition multiple times does raise questions about how best to properly calculate the true number of signature since, in theory and according to state law, only the first signature will count. Even the Government Accountability Board’s announcement that it will use software to help catch duplicates, though a step in the right direction, doesn’t promise to catch every or even most of those kinds of errors.
When a Milwaukee man proudly said he signed recall petitions 80 times as a way of getting back at Republicans who, he believes, stole the 2000 election in Florida, he proved just how error prone the process can be.
Second, just how many signatures will actually be verified and counted appears up in the air. Democrats and United Wisconsin, the liberal front group that ran the petition process, have not released a hard total of signatures. Instead, they have simply stuck to a vague “more than a million” statistic. There is no doubt that they have gathered over a million signatures, but how many will be legitimate signatures remains to be seen. It is no small irony that Democrats do not have confidence in stating any particular statistic after their own self-verification process. That process was designed to weed out particularly blatant errors that could prove an embarrassment to the effort. Maybe they believe their own efforts were not as thorough as they would have outsiders believe.
Third, it is important to note that those who signed recall petitions are not necessarily registered voters. While a person must be eligible to vote before they sign a recall petition, they are not required to be a registered voter. In order to fully capitalize off of the recall effort, Democrats will need to insure that those who signed petitions but are not registered to vote become registered voters and then respond to their turnout efforts. While not an impossible task, it is a mistake to believe that these 1 million signatures equal 1 million votes for a candidate running against Walker.
Fourth, 1 million signatures represents less than half the total votes of the 2010 gubernatorial election. When Walker won his race against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), who was handpicked by the Obama White House to run for governor, the total number of votes cast was 2,158,974.
It is no surprise that a recall election will be held and that Governor Walker will need to defend his reforms in what amounts to an all-out effort to overturn the results of the 2010 election. The credibility of the effort has been tarnished by the tactics employed, and Wisconsin taxpayers will be on the hook for up to $20 million in election costs thanks to a minority of Wisconsinites who are upset at the tough but necessary reforms that Governor Walker used to fulfill his campaign pledge of a balanced budget.
This piece by: Brian Sikma, Media Trackers