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Saturday, June 22, 2024

GAB will not allow third-party participation in checking recall petitions

The Government Accountability Board voted against using recall petition evaluations provided by a Tea Party-affiliated organization to help officially review petitions in a special meeting Tuesday.

Verify the Recall, a Tea Party-backed initiative to check the validity of all gubernatorial recall petition signatures, offered to share its third-party findings with the GAB to help the state agency verify signatures and signee information.

The proposed evaluation criteria, which would assess the validity of petition signatures based on such categories as the residency of the individual and whether or not the signee is deceased or fictional, would be "a significant and unwise departure to change our standards of review," according to GAB director and general counsel Kevin Kennedy in his recommendation to the board.

State statutes place the burden of contesting signatures on those officials who have recall petitions submitted against them. In its work, the GAB only verifies that petitions are entirely filled out by signees.

"The board and the staff are trying to do the right thing in a very unprecedented process," Judge David G. Deininger, Ret., the board's chair, said Tuesday. "We don't have preconceptions, we are not pursuing an agenda some way or another. We are only trying to follow the statute and have the process be as true to what the language of the Constitution and the statutes require."

In a separate decision, the board also voted to approve the use of Wisconsin technical college IDs as acceptable voting identification, provided the identification features the date of issuance, a signature and is valid.

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