February 18, 2011- All week long I've been closely following the situation in Madison as I sat on my couch sneezing and coughing. Others have covered the issue itself. I'm going to cover what we can actually DO about it.
Wisconsin law says that you can recall any government official that has been serving their current term for one year. This means that Walker and most of the state congress are off-limits until January 2012. While the "Recall Walker" movement has gained traction – it is neutered for the better part of the next year.
However, since only half of the state senate is elected every two years, 16 state senators, including eight republicans, are eligible for recall RIGHT NOW.
In order to cause a recall election, a person or group has to register with the appropriate filing official, then they have 60 days to gather signatures from within that district totaling 25% of the votes cast in the past election for that office.
Here are the senators with their district numbers, city of residence, and total votes needed to cause a recall election:
District 2 – Robert Cowles (Green Bay) – needs 15,800 signatures
8 – Alberta Darling (River Hills) – needs 20,300 signatures
10 – Sheila Harsdorf (River Hills) – needs 15,500 signatures
14 – Luther Olsen (Ripon) – needs 14,500 signatures
18 – Randy Hopper (Fond du Lac) – needs 15,268 signatures
20 – Glenn Grothman (West Bend) – needs 20,000 signatures
28 – Mary Lazich (New Berlin) – needs 20,900 signatures
32 – Dan Kapanke (La Crosse) – needs 15,400 signatures
(EDIT – signature numbers corrected to reflect approximate 2010 gubernatorial election numbers. Thanks ajwagner!)
Recalls elections could be held in four months or less. Flipping just three of these eight seats would flip the senate back into Democratic hands, and three of these senators won their last election with 51% or less of the vote.