Questions Raised by GAB Exclusion of Recall Petition Signers from Employment Opportunities

Standard May Not Equally Disqualify Partisans

MADISON, Wis. — The job announcement for the administrator of the elections division at the state Government Accountability Board (GAB) includes a notice that individuals who signed a recall petition for a state officeholder in 2011 or 2012 will not be hired. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross today raised concerns that the policy, while well intentioned, appears to be difficult to implement across the partisan spectrum.

Ross said, “Republicans and Democrats have both circulated recall petitions, but with nearly one million people who signed petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker suddenly declared ineligible, we are concerned this standard will unfairly exclude reasonable, knowledgeable applicants only because they felt Gov. Walker deserved to be recalled.”

Because various state Senate recall election petitions involving Republicans and Democrats may not be in an electronic format at the GAB, it would be difficult to verify if someone actually signed. In addition, several petitions were taken out against state Senators but were never submitted for verification.

There have also been several other unsuccessful recall efforts in Wisconsin before 2011 and 2012, mainly targeting Democrats, including efforts against former Gov. Jim Doyle, former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold and U.S. Senator Herb Kohl.

“The GAB is understandably focused on hiring a new administrator of the elections division who will not be unjustly attacked as a political partisan, but using the signing of a recall petition as the standard doesn’t appear to be the way to fairly or verifiably get that result,” concluded Ross.

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