-By Patrick Marley
January 13, 2012- Madison — The committee to recall Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced Friday it has the signatures to force an election.
Lori Compas, the recall committee's chairwoman, said in a news conference the group had gathered more than the 16,742 signatures needed, but declined to say how many. She said volunteers would continue to gather signatures to recall the Juneau Republican through Saturday. That's to provide a cushion because Fitzgerald will be able to knock some signatures off the petitions if he can show they belong to people who don't live in the district or aren't eligible to vote.
The petitions will be turned in Tuesday, along with those to recall Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three other Republican senators.
Fitzgerald filed a complaint with election officials Thursday arguing the collection of signatures must end Friday, rather than Saturday, because recall organizers have just 60 days to gather signatures.
Election officials — backed by the state Department of Justice — believe signatures can be collected through Saturday because the 60-day clock did not start to tick until Nov. 16, a day after Compas registered her committee with the state and began collecting signatures.
Recall officials said they were not worried about Fitzgerald's complaint.
"That's a kid not winning Monopoly throwing the board up at the end of the game," said recall volunteer Sarah Hammer, a Fort Atkinson nurse.