If only a compliant member of the press would wander in and ask them about it...
Shazam! Miss Stephanie Jones did just that last week and offered up a little story in the paper JT style - which means fast and brief - with details and research being very distant cousins.
According to her article, the patriot powerwashing team are pouring through the recall petitions available online and have "flagged" numerous mistakes:
"Tamra Varebrook, 43, of Racine, said she found recall petitions dated wrong, others not signed, and a few signed by out-of-state residents."Oh my! Those nasty Democrats must be pulling some lowdown bullshit, but the patriot powerwashing team is ready to catch 'em at it. The article goes on to say:
"Marge Orth, 63, of Caledonia, also had a page filled with notes about flagged petitions. On some of petitions, she could tell the person that filled out the address was not the same as the person who dated the signature."Thank heaven for Marge. She's no lawyer, but she's doing her part and Miss Jones is there to let the community know.
Here's the problem with the article and it's kind of an important detail:
The recall committees not only collected thousands of petition sheets that were turned in by volunteers, they also received thousands of petitions that were downloaded, filled out and mailed in. Some of those sheets had errors like the person who turned it in did not live in that district or filled it out incorrectly. The committees did what they could to contact the signers or circulators - but in just 60 days not every petition could be brought into compliance.
Okay, got that?
However, committees now in possession of flawed petitions must turn them in by law. (Remember those assholes out in Caledonia who said they were going to collect signatures and not turn them in? They changed their tune when they found out it was a felony didn't they?) Same thing applies here - the committee cannot disregard the legal intent of a signer just because he or she did not fill it out entirely or correctly.
So what the committees did with petitions that have flaws or errors that could not be amended before the deadline is attach an affidavit to the petition. It's stapled or paper-clipped to the petition sheet describing the errors and mistakes. The GAB doesn't scan the affidavit and so it doesn't appear online...but the errors in their un-amended glory make for a great story about how corrupt and brazen Racine County recallers were in submitting bad signatures.
Second, remember good ol' Marge who found signers and dates which did not match? Well, Miss Jones did a little more research and made a phone call to the GAB and spoke to Reid Magney their spokesman. Sadly, Reid appears to be the Cullen Werwie of their office and the information he gave Miss Jones is flat-out incorrect in a way that should cost him his job.
Reid is quoted as saying:
"...all signatures need to have dates including the year to be counted. Also, he said the person who signed the petition must have written in their own numerical address and the day of the month as well as their signature. The person circulating the petition could not have filled out that information, he said."Like Marge, Reid is not a lawyer - but it doesn't take one to read the state statutes or the GAB handbook on recalls. Reid now claims his statement to the JT was based on something he was told by a lawyer at the GAB.
Nice CYA Magney.
He got one part right - all signatures must be dated. His statement that petitioners must have filled out their address and date in their own hand is categorically false. It has never been true and isn't now...a fact that will make the patriot powerwashers very disappointed.
In GAB Legislative Document 2.05 Treatment and Sufficiency of Nomination Papers it says:
(4) Any information which appears on a nomination paper is entitled to a presumption of validity. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, errors in information contained in a nomination paper, committed by either a signer or a circulator, may be corrected by an affidavit of the circulator, an affidavit of the candidate, or an affidavit of a person who signed the nomination paper. The person giving the correcting affidavit shall have personal knowledge of the correct information and the correcting affidavit shall be filed with the filing officer not later than three calendar days after the applicable statutory due date for the nomination papers.
(8) An elector shall sign his or her own name unless unable to do so because of physical disability. An elector unable to sign because of physical disability shall be present when another person signs on behalf of the disabled elector and shall specifically authorize the signing.
(12) A complete address, including municipality of residence for voting purposes, and the street and number, if any, of the residence, (or a postal address if it is located in the jurisdiction that the candidate seeks to represent), shall be listed for each signature on a nomination paper.
(15) An individual signature on a nomination paper may not be counted when any of the following occur:
(a) The date of the signature is missing, unless the date can be determined by reference to the dates of other signatures on the paper.
(b) The signature is dated after the date of certification contained in the certificate of circulator.
(c) The address of the signer is missing or incomplete, unless residency can be determined by the information provided on the nomination paper.
(d) The signature is that of an individual who is not 18 years of age at the time the paper is signed. An individual who will not be 18 years of age until the subject election is not eligible to sign a nomination paper for that election.
(e) The signature is that of an individual who has been adjudicated not to be a qualified elector on the grounds of incompetency or limited competency as provided in s. 6.03 (3), Stats., or is that of an individual who was not, for any other reason, a qualified elector at the time of signing the nomination paper.
The law states the signature of the elector must his or her own, and even then there are extenuating circumstances. It says the address and date must be filled in, but nowhere does it say it must be in the hand of the elector. It also makes clear that circulators can amend or complete information on a petition or nomination sheet.
Not convinced? The GAB Handbook on appropriate recall petition compliance says:
Individual Signature Requirements
The specific requirements that apply to each signature on a petition to recall a local officeholder
are listed here and can also be found in El.Bd. 2.09, Wis. Adm.Code. • The signature listed must be that of a qualified elector of the jurisdiction or district represented by the officeholder.
• The full address, including municipality of residence, of each signer must be listed on the
petition and must be within the election district or jurisdiction of the officeholder.
• Each signature must be dated when it is affixed to the petition.
• The date of the signature must be within 60 days from the date the recall petitioner
registered with the filing officer.
• The date of the signature must not be later than the date of the circulator’s signature in
the Certification of Circulator.
If none of this legal information convinces the Siren's dear readers then know this...the Dems tried that argument last summer and lost. Yep, the GAB overruled it when Democrats tried saying signatures without dates written in by the electors and filled in by circulators were invalid.
Note to Stephanie Jones and Reid Magney: You may not know it, but Wisconsin Laws and Statutes are available online. The Siren highlighted the links above for your convenience.