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Wisconsin’s Mickey Mouse Recall Process


Last week, I pointed out that in the ongoing effort to recall Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, any signature submitted to the state Government Accountability Board would be given the presumption of validity. Furthermore, the Board itself won’t be checking the veracity of signatures — they count until Scott Walker’s campaign challenges them.

This came to a head at a GAB meeting on Tuesday, when election officials admitted names like “Mickey Mouse” and “Adolph Hitler” would count toward the 540,000 signatures needed to force a recall election. That is, unless Walker’s volunteers can enter hundreds of thousands of signatures into a database and challenge the fraudulent ones within the ten-day window. (This, of course, assumes that Adolph Hitler is not actually alive, living in Wisconsin, and supporting the recall Walker effort. If he is, the state has a lot more to worry about than protecting union benefits.)

The Mickey Mouse and Hitler hypotheticals are ridiculous examples meant to demonstrate how screwed up the signature verification process is. But, in fact, it’s much worse than it seems. It’s not easily recognizable names like these that should concern Walker. He needs to worry about the fabricated names that don’t stand out, and therefore will be impossible to challenge in a timely manner.

Say, for instance, you’re an elderly volunteer scanning a list of recall signatures. You see the names “Wyatt Donnelly,” “Freddy Newandyke,” “Frances Buxton,” and “Emil Schuffhausen.”

Those names are, in order: The dark-haired kid in Weird Science, the real name of Mr. Orange in Reservoir Dogs, Pee Wee Herman’s fat arch-nemesis in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and Michael Caine’s fabricated Austrian doctor in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. But unless Leonard Maltin is scanning those signature sheets on that day, all those names will count.

Also difficult to find will be the people who signed multiple recall petitions. Under the rules, someone can sign as many times as they want, but only one signature will count. It is then incumbent upon the recall target to sift through hundreds of thousands of signatures and challenge the duplicates. One guy boasted of signing up to 80 petitions — meaning, some campaign volunteer will have to play “find the other 79.”

And this is how the unions will attempt to unseat Gov. Scott Walker. As H.L. Mencken said about Teddy Roosevelt (which was relayed on The Corner earlier this month by Michael Knox Beran), the unions don’t believe in democracy, they simply believe in government. And as Malcolm X suggested, they will use any means necessary. In fact, I think he has signed a few recall petitions himself.

— Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.


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