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I am a frequent flyer on the Government Accountability Board (GAB) web site, visiting various sections and pages nearly every day as I strive to become an informed voter and Wisconsin citizen.  To help me do this, I’ve added the RSS feed for Recent Clerk Communications to my browser home page so I can easily see when something new has been posted.  Now, I’m a little late in getting around to sharing this, but on July 24, 2012, the GAB post a notice to clerks about upcoming recall elections, entitled “Procedure for Conducting a Recall Election during the August 14, 2012 Partisan Primary”.  It would seem that this would be big election news - more recall elections - but, as I was to find out, not as far as the GAB seems to be concerned.

“The G.A.B. has been notified by a number of municipalities that will have a recall election in conjunction with the August 14, 2012 Partisan Primary.  In our ongoing effort to ensure a successful and problem-free fall election cycle, we have developed two sets of instructions for conducting a recall at the Partisan Primary.  Each municipality that will have a recall election on the date of the Partisan Primary has been contacted directly by the G.A.B. with these procedures.

One set of instructions outlines the procedures for ballot preparation and processing for municipalities using hand count paper ballots.  The other set of instructions outlines the same procedures for municipalities using optical scan voting equipment…”

~Procedure for Conducting a Recall Election during the August 14, 2012 Partisan Primary


“A number of municipalities” will be having recall election?  Really?  This was the first I'd heard of them!

Curious about these recall elections I’d not heard about, I decided to investigate...and the GAB “Recall Elections” section of their web site seemed to be a reasonable place to start.  Oddly, I didn’t find anything about any recall election that’s coming up; everything was about the previous recall elections in the past year.  So, I checked their Recall Blog…nothing there, either.  Then I did a search of the entire GAB site, but all that came up was the same post to the clerks.  Then, just for good measure, I checked the Wheeler Report, thinking the GAB announced them there, and I found a release about the upcoming August 14th election…but not a word about any of the recall elections that the GAB, themselves, said would be happening at the same time.  

Gee…a number of municipalities reported recall elections for which the GAB has written procedures, but not a word on their site about these elections.  Is this what they call “transparency”?  

Of course, I didn’t stop there.  I went on and did some basic searches using Yahoo and Google to see what I might find out on the web but, much to my dismay, my searches yielded nothing.  (I searched various combinations of “Wisconsin recall election August 14, 2012”).  At least, nothing about recall elections that will be coming up; I didn’t even find the GAB’s recent post with “recall election” in the title!  So, when I wrote to the GAB on July 30th about my concern about new voter registrations not being in the SVRS in time for the August 14th primary, I also asked about this  “number of municipalities that will have a recall election in conjunction with the August 14, 2012 Partisan Primary” - twice:

“...I am forwarding an email I sent yesterday, with questions about the upcoming elections.  I understand there will be some recalls.  I am wondering where those recall elections will be (for which persons in which municipalities or counties)?  I also have a question about new voters who registered on June 5th but aren't showing up in the VPA database yet.  My understanding is anyone not listed as a registered voter in the SVRS 20 days before an election will not be on the voter list for that(those) elections...
Later that evening, I heard back from Jason Fischer, Elections Specialist at the Government Accountability Board.  
“…Yes, there are several communities and one school district/school board holding recall elections on August 14.  These communities include:  Town of Sumner (Barron Co.), Town of Brazeau, Waterford Sanitary District, and the Boscobel School District…”
So, this “number of municipalities”, which Mr. Fischer describes as “several”, totals four.  4.  That’s it.  I’d call that “a few” but I won’t go there just yet.  And I say “yet” because, despite my specific request “for which persons in which municipalities or counties” for these upcoming recall elections the GAB announced to clerks, his reply only provided some of this information: the “where” but not the “who”.  For all I know, there are more recall elections and that information is being withheld.  I mean, it’s not like the GAB has been publicizing or even forthcoming when directly asked about these elections…


* * * * *

Not wanting to deal with the GAB again (yet), I decided once again to see what I could find on my own.  This is what I came up with:

~ Town of Sumner (Barron Co.) recall election is for Town Board Supervisor, Jim Crotteau. According to an article on Rice Lake Online:

“The recall was organized by the Citizens for Responsible Land Use, a group that opposes frac sand mining in the township. Members of the group have said that Crotteau has not represented the town's citizens properly because of his support of a frac sand mine in the township. Group members have said that the majority of Sumner residents oppose mining in the township.”

~ Town of Brazeau recall election is for town supervisors Darrell Enix and James Hanna.  The Oconto County Times Herald reports the group Concerned Citizens of the Town of Brazeau gave the following statement:

“…the reasons for the recall drive: poor fiscal management due to large budget overruns for road construction, restricting citizen input at town meetings and a lack of support for emergency services. Enix is also accused of charging excessive personal expenses to the town...”

~ Waterford Sanitary District recall election is for the Waterford Sanitary District President, Bill Gerard.  As “My Racine County.com” (southernlakesnewspapers.com) reports:

The “…recall effort follows months of public angst over WSD financial issues, including an aborted attempt to charge about 300 users a separate fee for the WSD-owned grinder pumps that service their properties…’

~ Boscobel School District recall election will be for Charles Clark.  Despite my attempts to find out more about this particular recall, all I could find was this from the Telegraph Herald online, which requires a login to read the full article:

“On June 15, Roger Knoble turned in a petition with more than 300 signatures calling for the recall of Charles Clarke.”


* * * * *

So there you have it.  Four local recall elections surrounding fracking, poor fiscal management, financial issues, and one over some unknown issue with a school board member, in Barron, Oconto, Racine, and Grant counties.  All “red” counties.  

No wonder the GAB doesn’t care about them.

Originally posted to Nomi Rene on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 11:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Very interesting. (9+ / 0-)

    Thanks for your digging. I hope a few more Sconnies read this and update with any information they might have about this.

  •  Thanks for your work on this (9+ / 0-)

    Republished to Badger State Progressive.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 03:34:59 PM PDT

  •  Hmmm. Frac sand mining. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badscience, bnasley, JVolvo, Creosote, Lujane

    Thanks, that could be useful.

  •  I would think that if this election is in your (3+ / 0-)

    community GAB is not necessarily the place where you would turn for information about it.

  •  another recall election in Sept (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley, Sunspots, JVolvo, Creosote, Lujane

    The village of Elmwood Park (right outside of Racine) will be having a recall election, but not until September.
    http://caledonia.patch.com/...

    Wisconsin: It's war, you know. We didn't start it, but we'll keep fighting in it until we win

    by isewquilts2 on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 07:19:22 PM PDT

  •  I don't think the GAB is responsible... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jahiegel, auron renouille, Lujane, GeoffT

    I don't think the GAB is responsible for "running" these recalls.

    Section 9.10.1 of the WI statutes says "The qualified electors of the state, of any county, city, village, or town, of any congressional, legislative, judicial, town sanitary, or school district, or of any prosecutorial unit may petition for the recall of any incumbent elective official by filing a petition with the same official or agency with whom nomination papers or declarations of candidacy for the office are filed demanding the recall of the officeholder."

    That is, the recall is "run" by the same agency who "ran" the election that put the person into the office in the first place. And the GAB doesn't run the elections at the level of supervisors and school boards and water districts.

    Indeed, if you look at the rest of the statutes regarding recalls, they are divided up in large part between a section for "State, county, congressional, legislative and judicial offices" (run by the GAB) and a section for "City, village, town, town sanitary district, and school district offices" (run by the local clerks).

    So expecting the GAB to be the primary source of info for municipal recalls seems a bit unreasonable to me.

    •  Per the GAB web site: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sunspots, Creosote, Lujane
      "Introduction to the G.A.B.
      Providing for an informed populace and the integrity of government decision-making

      The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) is charged with oversight of Wisconsin's campaign finance, elections, ethics, and lobbying laws.

      The G.A.B. officially began work in January 2008. It was created a year earlier in 2007 Wisconsin Act 1, replacing the State Elections Board and the State Ethics Board.

      The G.A.B. is made up of six former judges, nominated by a panel of four Wisconsin Appeals Court judges, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The six board members serve staggered six-year terms; one member's term expires each year.  Both the Board and its staff must be non-partisan. For more information, see Ch. 15.60.

      In a commentary titled “The Persistence of Partisan Election Administration,” Ohio State University law professor Daniel P. Tokaji states: “The best American model is Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, which consists of retired judges selected in a way that is designed to promote impartiality.”
      Our Mission

      The mission of the Board is to ensure accountability in government by enforcing ethics and lobbying laws, and to enhance representative democracy by ensuring the integrity of the electoral process. To carry out this mission, the G.A.B. and its staff direct their energies toward providing for an informed electorate. The G.A.B. is a source of information about the election process, and the activities and finances of candidates for public office.

      The G.A.B. and its staff are committed to ensuring that Wisconsin elections are administered through open, fair and impartial procedures that guarantee that the vote of each individual counts, and that the will of the electorate prevails. The Board uses information technology and the Internet to make information readily available to the public about the financing of political campaigns, elections, lobbying, and financial interests of public officials. The Board and its staff are dedicated to enforcing the election, ethics, lobbying and campaign finance laws vigorously to reduce the opportunity for corruption and maintain public confidence in representative government.

      I encourage you to search the information available. Please share your comments and suggestions on the usefulness of this source of information with us. If we can be of any assistance, please contact us.

      Kevin J. Kennedy, Director and General Counsel
      "

      They are the keepers of the SVRS - which contains ALL election information.  What's more, they are they the ones who posted a directive to the municipalities holding recall elections.

      Gee, I can't imagine why I'd look to the GAB for election information.  

    •  (One other note) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sunspots, Lujane

      One other thing to note, as a sort of FYI -

      All of rural Wisconsin is divided up into "townships", which are given names of "towns". But that doesn't mean town in the sense of 100 or 1000 or whatever number of people living in close proximity to one another along a grid of intersecting streets.

      There is Brazeau Township in Oconto County, but there is no "town" of Brazeau in the sense that most people living in bigger cities would think of it.

      As a matter of fact (as far as I know; my sister lives in, I think, the next township over - Breed Township - and I have actually driven through Brazeau) there isn't anything that would match the normal concept of a 'town' anywhere in Brazeau Township. On the township's web site, there are zero schools listed and zero churches listed as being within the township.

      So if you live in Brazeau, you watch Green Bay TV and maybe read the Green Bay newspaper. And I really doubt the Green Bay media are spending a lot of time covering the recall in Brazeau.

      •  No one is covering any of these recalls... (0+ / 0-)

        that's kind of my point in bringing it up.  They are important, though, as it could mean a change in a local government - and in 2 case, over issues that personally matter to me.  So I'm interested, even if I can't vote, and it sure would be nice if the media didn't pick and choose which politics to follow and just reported on all of them.  

        Now, I don't know why you felt the need to FYI me with this tidbit about "town of" vs. "township", but I want you to know that I used a direct quote from the GAB, so perhaps you should FYI them about the difference.  That's how it is listed in the election results spreadsheet, so I imagine that's it's real name.  Either way, I really don't care (and I don't mean that to sound snotty).  Massachusetts is a Commonwealth, not a state, but that doesn't make their elections or votes any less important.  

        I'm just sayin'...

    •  There was a recall of the Sheboygan mayor (0+ / 0-)

      ...in February.  The petitions had been submitted to the City Clerk, not the GAB.  I don't know if the GAB was ever even officially notified about it, being a local affair.

      (Now instead of the signs at the city's edge saying "Mayor Drunken Sexual Harassment Welcomes you to the City of Sheboygan" they say "The Citizens of the City of Sheboygan welcome you").

      Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

      by GeoffT on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 10:07:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I did hear about that...in the news. (0+ / 0-)

        Whether or not the GAB did anything with that election, I don't know - there certainly isn't anything on their web site about it.  But per the GAB web site, all elections are local - even for statewide races.  So whether or not GAB is involved (or rather, to what degree), local election officials handle the election.  

        My question is whether or not the information about that election is in the Statewide Voter Registration Database.  Given that it's the "all-in-one" election database that was specifically designed to hold all election data, and it's supposed to be used to create poll lists of current registered voters, I'm quite sure the GAB had to be aware of this recall election, too.  

        I imagine the GAB is (perhaps) more involved with these recall elections because the are happening at the same time a statewide primary is being held.  I really can't say - those are questions for the GAB.  All I know is THEY are the keepers of election information, and I expect full and equal disclosure about all election, big or small - or the ones THEY deem important.

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