Opponents collect signatures through state
By Jacob Riederer
Democratic-affiliated groups officially began circulating petitions Tuesday as part of a statewide effort to force a recall election of Gov. Scott Walker.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and United Wisconsin, a political action committee created around recalling Walker, need to obtain 540,208 signatures in 60 days for a recall election to take place, which could take place as soon as May.
The groups kicked off the recall effort early Tuesday morning with events across the state where Walker opponents could sign petitions at 12:01 a.m.
Students could sense the recall atmosphere around campus.
College Democrats gathered signatures on Bascom Hill and volunteers for the Teaching Assistants’ Association set up tables at East Campus Mall and Union South.
College Democrats Chair Jordan Weibel said their petitioning efforts have been successful so far and encouraged students to get involved in the process.
“Signing a petition is … one thing, but volunteering and getting up and talking to other students about why you specifically want to recall Walker is really going to make this recall successful,” Weibel said.
Debbie Thomas, vice chair of College Democrats, said she was optimistic the group would collect “several hundred” signatures during the first week.
Jill Hopke, a TAA volunteer, said Walker unfairly infringed on her right to collectively bargain.
Hopke said the TAA would be working to inform the public about the new law that requires voters to show valid forms of identification at polling places and the effects this requirement will have on voting.
“It’s very important to be able to have a say in the workplace, and that’s what collective bargaining affords us,” Hopke said. “So, hopefully with this effort we will be able to recall Walker and move toward getting our rights back.”
But College Republicans spokesperson Jeff Snow said Walker’s policies are getting the state “on track” after years of “fiscal insanity.”
“I think the more time goes on, the more facts we have on our side, the lower the budget deficit gets and the more our reforms get a chance to work,” Snow said.
Republicans rally to ‘recall the recalls’
By Jack Casey
As Democrats began circulating petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker, UW Republicans joined with the Dane County Young Republicans to put on a rally supporting the governor.
State Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, spoke at the event and said Walker has lived up to his campaign promises by balancing the budget and opening up the state to private sector job growth.
“We have made sure to turn the state around to let every single private job sector creator know Wisconsin is open for business,” Vos said.
Vos also urged supporters to defend Walker and warned about national unions sending money to spread “lies and innuendos” during the recall efforts.
“We have to work night and day to make sure that that recall, if it happens, is not successful,” Vos said. “Wisconsin cannot go backwards, which is why every single one of you has to be involved.”
Although Walker supporters filled the room, Walker opponents in the crowd interrupted with chants as Vos was about to speak. Some event attendees approached protesters to get them to leave while others verbally responded to the protesters’ chant.
The room turned into a shouting match between both sides.
College Republicans Chair Johnny Koremenos said they’re “afraid that their side is not going to win out unless they bully everybody.”
“Let them infiltrate our events. We’re not afraid because when it comes time for voters in Wisconsin to pull that lever, they are going to vote for Governor Walker.” Koremenos said.
College Republicans Spokesperson Jeff Snow said the group’s goal is to get students who formerly had not supported Republicans to reconsider signing the petition.
“We have to work to express to students that our reforms are working,” Snow said.
Snow said people are beginning to see that Walker’s policies are working and that a recall election would not be successful.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they get the signatures, but I know we’ll win in the general election,” Snow said.