Sabotage? Caledonia Man Claims He, and Others, Plan to Shred Signed Walker Recall Petitions
Facebook and Twitter are abuzz about plans to undermine efforts to collect 540,000 signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker. One Caledonia resident says those efforts are real.
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UPDATE 5:01 p.m.: Click here to read the reaction from the Government Accountability Board and the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
UPDATE 3:29 p.m.: The man who collected 150 signatures said he plans to turn them into the Government Accountability Board. One other person is also going to turn his in and they are going to convince a third person to do the same.
Here's his statement: "It’s not the right thing to do, we should have known better. The whole thing wasn’t our idea. It’s something we just stumbled on and we did it, 24 hours later we realized that it’s not a good thing to do. I’ve been thinking about it and it’s just not right. But when I think about what’s been going on all year with the protests, and what this has been doing to people, families, and friends…is making normal people do really stupid things and feel stupid things. And it’s crazy. It's absolutely crazy."
Update 11:52 a.m.: Bill Folk, chairman of the Racine County Republican Party, denounced the group's effort to sabotage the recall election and said the group is not part of the Racine County Republican Party or the Tea Party. "It's not a move the Racine County Republican Party or the Tea Party supports or endorses," he said. "I firmly believe that if you sign a recall petition that it should be turned in, and that the process should happen as it is supposed to." Lora Halberstadt, of the Racine TEA Party, also denounced the actions of the group.
Original story: Residents who signed legitimate recall petitions may never have them counted by the Government Accountability Board.
A Caledonia resident, who asked not to have his name used, told Caledonia Patch that he and at least two other people in Racine are collecting signatures to recall Scott Walker, but have no intention of turning them into the GAB. Instead, they want people to think they've signed the petition, but not actually have their signatures count.
They are doing this to sabotage the recall effort, the resident said.
“The Democrats put this out there and they made some mistakes,” the man said. “If you go to their Facebook page, you can download the petition from right there. I’m sure they are counting how many are being downloaded, but just because they are printed, don’t mean they’ll be used … It’s not illegal to collect them and not turn them in.”
But this may be a gray area. Reid Magney, a spokesman from Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board, told a reporter with Mother Jones that “destroying or defacing an official recall petition would violate state law. (Here's the relevant statute.) Such a violation, he adds, would be a class I felony in Wisconsin, which carries a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to three-and-a-half years in jail.”
The man claimed he had already collected 150 signatures at Walmart and Pick’n Save on 27th Street in Franklin yesterday. However, when asked to produce the documents, he said, he would need to think about showing them to Patch. He said he won’t be turning them into the GAB, but hasn’t destroyed them.
The man also told Caledonia Patch that there are over 1,000 people collecting signatures across the state to recall Scott Walker and that none of those people had any intention of turning them in to the GAB. When pressed, he said he couldn’t confirm the actual number.
A number of Facebook pages where people are talking about collecting the petitions, the man said.
A story published by the blog Politiscoop reported that the Tea Party might be involved with sabotage efforts. A website called the Brad Blog is also featuring actual screen shots of these conversations.
“People are done and they are going to start fighting back. We’re done with the unions and their foolish ways … this is Wisconsin, leave us alone,” he said.
Calls made to the Wisconsin Democratic Party, the Racine County Democratic Party and the GAB have not been returned.