Double Reverse: Scott Walker Recall Petitions Finally Posted Online

It’s not quite an online database, but it’s a start. After reneging on their promise to post pdfs of the Scott Walker recall petitions online, the misnamed Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has relented.

The signatures are now online, here.

Earlier Tuesday, before their latest change of course, I sent the GAB this letter.

January 31, 2012

Kevin Kennedy

State of Wisconsin Government Accountability

Board 212 East Washington Avenue, Third Floor

VIA EMAIL AND HAND DELIVERED Madison,

Wisconsin 53707-7984

Dear Executive Director Kennedy:

This letter is to request the following records, under the state’s Open Records Law (19.31-39, Wisconsin Statutes):

Copy of the electronic record of the scanned petitions which seek the recall of Governor Scott Walker. This electronic record has been, under information and belief, created and is in your possession. Creation of a duplicate copy of said electronic record should, therefore, be able to be produced immediately and at a minimal cost, if any.

Please be aware that the Open Records law defines “record” to include information that is maintained on paper as well as electronically, such as data files and unprinted emails. Wis. Stat. 19.32(2).

As you know, the Open Records law “shall be construed in every instance with the presumption of complete public access consistent with the conduct of governmental business. The denial of access generally is contrary to the public interest and only in exceptional cases can access be denied.” If you deny my request, the law requires you to do so in writing and state what part of the law you believe entitles you to deny my request. Wis. Stat. 19.35(4)(a).

The Open Records law states that you may charge for “the actual, necessary and direct cost” of locating records, if this exceeds $50, and for photocopies. The Wisconsin Department of Justice advises that copying fees under the Open Records law should be “around 15 cents per page and that anything in excess of 25 cents may be suspect.” Please advise me before processing this request if the total cost will exceed $50.

As you know, the law requires you to respond to this request “as soon as practicable and without delay.”

If you are not the records custodian for this information, please forward this request to the appropriate person. Also, please let me know if I can clarify or refine this request.

Since the information is in your possession, I anticipate a response from you today.

Sincerely,

Brett Healy

President, The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy

Social media burned hot. The media noticed. The GAB finally relented.

They posted the scans online around 6pm, and will be providing me an electronic copy of the petitions.

It’s a start. Next up. Obtaining the database that many believe they are creating.

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