Six Wisconsin Democratic Voters Ask Elections Officials to Remove “Insincere” Democratic Candidates from May 8 Recall PrimaryApril 12th, 2012
On April 12, six Democratic voters asked Wisconsin election officials to remove six candidates from the May 8 recall primary, on the grounds that even though they obtained enough valid signature, they are running in Democratic primaries and they are not Democrats. Wisconsin does not have registration by party, so the complaint attaches news clippings to demonstrate that the six particular candidates are not loyal to the Democratic Party. Instead, the complaint says, the six candidates filed in the six recall elections (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and four State Senate districts) to make sure that Democrats have a primary for all six offices.
Recall petitions in Wisconsin, when successful, do not simply ask voters if the incumbent should be recalled. Instead, they trigger special elections, in which the recalled office-holder may run to retain the office. If there were no party primaries in these special elections, the special elections would be on May 8. But if more than one candidate from the same party files, then a special primary is held on May 8 and the special general election is held June 5. The complaint alleges (and no one disputes the allegation) that the motivation for some of the candidates who filed in the Democratic primary is to make sure there is a contested Democratic primary, which results in the special general election itself being a month later. Republican office-holders don’t want the special general elections in the State Senate races on May 8 because there is a bona fide Democratic primary that day for Governor, which is expected to attract a large Democratic turnout. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.