Thursday Governor Walker reluctantly scheduled special elections to fill two legislative seats that have been subjects of a court battle.
Meanwhile, the State Senate held a public hearing Wednesday afternoon on a bill that would remove the Governor's requirement to call a special election.
The governor had refused to order elections to fill Rep. Keith Ripp and Sen. The Republican leaders of the state legislature also dropped plans to convene a special session to change Wisconsin law and cancel the elections.
Another Dane County Judge ruled that Governor Walker must call special elections to fill empty seats in the state legislature and that he must do so by noon Thursday.
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The Wisconsin Elections Commission said Wednesday the last spring and fall elections cost $235,000 and $389,000 in Senate District 1 and cost $72,000 and $122,000 in Assembly District 42.
State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said Thursday Walker was "boxed in" and risked being held in contempt of court if he didn't call for the special elections, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. But, this week, despite every effort by Scott Walker to avert the expression of the will of the people, democracy prevailed. Walker argues that would make the lawsuit moot and negate the need for calling special elections.
Fitzgerald testified Wednesday that anywhere from 85 to 150 overseas voters, including some in the military, could be disenfranchised if the special elections proceed under the timeline set up in current state law.
The seats have been vacant since December, when Walker appointed two Republican legislators to his administration. The DOJ, which is representing Walker, notified the 2nd District Court of Appeals on Wednesday that the agency would appeal.
"With consolidated timelines attached to elections that are occurring outside the regular election schedule, there is confusion over how overseas voters are to be notified of not only the existence of an election, but the deadlines for requesting and submitting ballots", Fitzgerald says. The appellate court refused to delay the order.
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The commission doesn't have an estimate for how much a separate special election in January cost.
"The concern for military voters did not seem to be high on your radar, and you're a former military man yourself", Miller said. He says he doesn't see a special election as necessary and says he hasn't heard any complaints from constituents. Vacancies would be filled in the regular November election.
Circulation of nomination papers for candidates can begin March 29 and nomination papers must be filed no later than 5 p.m. April 17.
"Do you know how surreal it is to stand in front of you with no representation?" "It's demoralizing and unethical on your part".
Kathleen Finnerty, chairwoman of the Door County Democratic Party, said it was "transparent" that Republicans in control of state government were afraid of a Democrat being elected in her district.
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