Wisconsin governor ordered to hold special elections after Democratic outcry

Wisconsin governor ordered to hold special elections after Democratic outcry

If the ruling by Judge Reynolds is not challenged, Walker must by next week call separate special elections to fill seats that were vacated by two of his appointees: former Republican state senator Frank Lasee, of northeast Wisconsin, and former Republican state representative Keith Ripp, of south-central Wisconsin.

A Democratic group headed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sued Walker demanding he hold special elections on grounds citizens in the districts were being denied legislative representation while the seats were left empty.

But Assistant Attorney General Steve Kilpatrick argues that while it's unfortunate voters don't have representatives in those districts, the damage they're suffering doesn't meet the legal standard needed to force Walker to call elections. The proposal had to come back to the Assembly for a final vote, though, after the Senate included new language that requires the Legislature's budget committee to sign off on any spending on new facilities after the prison closes.

Critics have said that Walker put off calling the special elections after Democrat Patty Schachtner won a special election in Senate District 10, a heavily Republican area in northwestern Wisconsin, in January. Believe it or not, our legislatures are not created to go very long with unfilled seats since they're supposed to represent the people, but the person responsible for calling special elections to fill seats vacated for various reasons-Scott Walker-has refused to schedule elections he knows he's likely to lose. She also accused his office of being hypocritical in advocating generally for a strict reading of laws while interpreting the relevant statute in this case in a way that undermined "the most basic constitutional guarantee". That happened in the special election for Wisconsin's 10th Senate District in western Wisconsin, when Sen. But if he issues the order one day earlier, the elections could be held on May 29.


State law says that legislative vacancies that occur before the second Tuesday in May in an election year "shall be filled as promptly as possible by special election". Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, and Assembly Democratic leader Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, releasing statements in support.

"It is clear that Governor Walker is intimidated by the voters of Wisconsin". Walker said he wouldn't hold a special election for the open seats, but would instead allow them to be filled by the regularly scheduled elections in November 2018.

Reynolds was appointed to the bench by Walker in 2014. "You don't always get it right".

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