MADISON, Wisc. (CN) – A judge denied Gov. Scott Walker’s second request for more time to review signatures on his recall petitions, leaving a Feb. 27 deadline in place.
Dane County Judge Richard Niess’s ruling means the Government Accountability Board’s March 19 deadline for deciding whether recall elections should be held for Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican states senators also remains in place.
Niess previously gave Walker 30 days to review the petitions – three times the 10 days allowed under state law.
In a second petition, Walker asked for another 2 weeks. He said his campaign committee was able to review only 25 percent of more than 1 million signatures which were filed on 152,000 pages.
Walker’s attorney’s called the second request for more time “minimal” and claimed that “a recall election, if justified, will not be materially delayed by this request.”
Walker’s attorneys claimed, “the potential margin of error found by the campaign committee to date (excluding the search for duplicates) was between 10 and 20 percent.”
Judge Niess decided that with that margin of error there is “little likelihood” that enough signatures will be flagged to stop the recall.
The state Democratic Party said in a statement that it hoped Niess’s ruling would end Walker’s “heinous attempt to avoid accountability,” and stop the governor’s defenders from “smear(ing) what was a miracle of democracy.”
More than 540,000 signatures are needed to recall Walker – 25 percent of the votes cast in the November 2010 race for governor.
Walker was targeted for recall after he used a budget bill to severely restrict the powers of public employees unions, and to make it more difficult for public workers to be represented by a union.