When I was first made aware of a video showing a ‘Recall Walker’ volunteer trading cigarettes to children in exchange for petition signatures, I was convinced that I must have seen the worst of the corruption in this process. “It could not continue like this,” I told myself, “they will crack down on fraud.”
I was wrong.
In the past few days, I have received countless emails and phone calls regarding the heights—or, rather, lows—that the Recall Walker camp has exhibited in their attempt to remove the beloved Wisconsin governor from his position. There have been reports of a young woman signing for her parents, and a gentleman promising to “cheat to get Scott Walker outta [sic] here” by signing the petition, as he reported, eighty times.
For one group of volunteers to completely evaluate the validity of over 500,000 signatures required of the Recall Walker camp is an insurmountable task, one which they are not expected to be able to complete effectively according to statements previously made by the Government Accountability Board (GAB). Even if they are able to complete this task, the GAB has assumed that it will take them sixty days, near twice the amount of time as required under law (thirty-one days), to fully examine each of the over 500,000 signatures. This creates a specific problem that some signature errors may mistakenly be overlooked, or that volunteers will be more concerned with time limits than legality.
Thankfully, the task is not limited to the board alone, nor is it limited to Wisconsin residents. On Monday, the MacIver Institute reported that they had created a website to verify the recall by allowing volunteers to aid in verifying signatures, as well as making use of technological developments that are able to “identify duplicate signatures and other signature irregularities.” This system will not remove the burden on the Government Accountability Board entirely, but rather allow for yet another check and balance in the recount petition signature affirmation step, which determines if the recall elections are to happen or not.
For a group that began the recall to ensure that Governor Walker is held responsible for his political actions during this past session, United Wisconsin is failing to maintain responsibility in their own organization. At no point on their website do they even address the instances of recall fraud, nor do they discourage it from occuring. Therefore, the average citizen must be concerned with the validity of recall petition signatures, for a single example of fraud raises concerns on the fairness of the political system itself. Abuse cannot, and must not, continue.
Caitlyn Stenerson // Carthage College // @stenersonMN