Judge orders emergency hearing on elections

01 April, 2018, 00:56 | Author: Martin Tyler
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Governor Scott Walker has been fighting to not hold a special election for two vacant seats in the State Senate and Assembly.

In his one-page ruling. The court denied the request Wednesday afternoon, writing that electing representatives is never a waste of tax dollars and Walker is required by law to order the requested special elections.

Reilly issued his ruling hours after the Department of Justice appealed two Dane County judges' decisions on the case.

After Holder's group sued, a district court judge ruled last week that Walker had to schedule the elections as ordered by state law.

DOJ had filed Walker's appeal in District 2, which covers the conservative Milwaukee suburbs and the Fox Valley, rather than District 4, which covers liberal Dane County.

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Even if Republicans were to lose these seats - which is hardly a given - they would still hold an 18-15 majority in the Wisconsin Senate and a 63-36 majority in the Wisconsin Assembly. Instead, Walker, Attorney General Brad Schimel and the Republican legislators are going to waste taxpayers' money by legal challenges and calling yet another special session.

Republicans are rushing a bill through the Legislature that would eliminate requirements that the governor promptly call special elections to fill legislative vacancies.

Walker ordered the special elections to be held on June 12. Spokesman Reid Magney said the commission stopped tracking costs previous year after commissioners discontinued the practice because state law doesn't require it to do so.

Chair of the Door County Democratic Party Kathleen Finnerty says already the Senate has called multiple special sessions where residents of District 1 have had no representation.

Passing a bill to effectively cancel the elections would throw a "monkey wrench" into the process, Fitzgerald said, and would raise the prospect of having "another judge slapping us down".

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The bill being pushed by GOP leaders stated that it would apply retroactively, "notwithstanding any other law, court order, or order of the governor".

Marc Elias, a Democratic attorney representing voters seeking the special elections, said Walker risked being in contempt of the earlier court order if he decides not to follow should the Legislature change the law next week. Walker argues that would make the lawsuit moot and negate the need for calling special elections. Keith Ripp and then-Sen.

"Keep the elections on the same time, and remember that your military are protecting us at all times and they should have a little extra edge perhaps to get their ballots in on time", Richardson said.

Holder's group and Wisconsin Democrats have countered that the calendar would have made more sense if Walker had scheduled the races when the seats were first vacated in late December 2017, and that there was no justification for leaving two districts unrepresented for over a year.

The bill would prohibit special elections after the spring election in years with fall legislative elections and extending the period between scheduling an election and executing it.

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Walker initially refused to accept the court order but lost an appeal Wednesday.


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