Walker asks judge to give the state more time to change election law

The State Department of Justice has asked judge Josann Reynolds to change the deadline for Walker to call new elections for two vacant seats in the state legislature. A recent ruling by the Dane County judge required Walker to call a special election for the seats previously held by Sen. Frank Lasee, (R - De Pere) and Rep. Keith Ripp (R - Lodi) after Walker decided that he would not hold elections as required by the law, but that he would hold off until the Nov. general election.

Considering the irritated tone of the original court ruling in Dane County, it will be intriguing to see how the judge responds to moving the deadline. The only reason for the deadline move from this Thursday to April 6 is to allow time for the state legislature to call yet another extraordinary session to pass a law changing the requirements for special elections.

The wording of the law smacks of desperation. The proposed law changes the fairly straightforward wording of the current law to a series of hoops of dates for holding special elections. The proposed legislature would prevent special elections after the state's spring elections in even-numbered years. It would also stop the Governor from creating a special election less than four months after a seat becomes vacant. The upshot of this is that it would prevent a seat coming vacant in December of an odd-numbered year from being filled before the November election of the following year. The law would be retroactive if passed. This clearly is designed to address the very odd situation we find ourselves in this year. The extreme irony here is that the law may not be passed because there is some dissension within the Republican ranks, and they are currently down two members because of the vacant seats that this legislation is designed to preserve.

One has to question why the current administration is always hell-bent on fighting with the courts on issues that would seem straightforward. This all would have been much simpler if the Governor had just held the special elections when they were required. Apparently if forced to hold the special election within the confines of the court ruling he intends to hold a primary (if needed) on May 15, and the general election on June 12.

State Senator Jennifer Shilling has called the efforts to block the special elections "the height of corruption." I agree.

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Published on

March 27, 2018

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