On NPR’s Morning Edition today, there was piece about the recall drive against Gov. Scott Walker (R-W
AI). Today was the deadline for turning in at least 540,208 signatures to force a recall election. There was speculation that a much larger number would be turned in. In response, Walker said (my emphasis):
“The optimist in me looks at that and says, ‘the overwhelming majority of the people in the state chose not to sign that and I earned the trust of the majority the last time.’ My hope is I will earn their trust again.”
This afternoon the Wisconsin State Journal writes:
Democrats and organizers filed petitions Tuesday afternoon with more than a million signatures as they sought to force a recall election against Gov. Scott Walker – a massive number that seems to cement a historic recall election against him for later this year.
Holy shit! Over a million signatures?!?
In the 2010 election, Walker got 1,128,941 votes, and his opponent, Mayor Tom Barrett (D-Milwaukee), got 1,004,303 votes. That is a total of 2,133,244 votes. So, the signature drive may well have collected signatures from a majority of the voters in the state.
Let’s put this into context. Suppose there are exactly one million and one signatures. Then it means the signatures amounted to 46.9% of the 2010 vote total. That’s huge.
In the 2003 California gubernatorial recall drive, organizers turned in 1.6 million signatures (of which 1,356,408 were valid). There were 7,738,821 votes in that election. So, that recall drive turned in signatures that amounted to only 20.7% of the 2003 vote total.
There are differences between Wisconsin and California in the recall process. Wisconsin requires a minimum of 25% of the number of votes cast in the previous election to California’s 12%. And there are different laws about signing petitions. Still, 46.9% is pretty fucking impressive.
In addition to the Walker recall, a sufficient number of signatures was returned to force recall elections for Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R), and four Republican state Senators (Fitzgerald, Galloway, Moulton and Wanggaard).