Wisconsin Elections Commission rejects recall effort targeting Republican leader

  • Canadian Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s bipartisan elections commission rejected a petition Thursday that sought to force a recall election targeting the state’s top elected Republican, who has drawn the ire of former President Donald Trump.

Trump backers angry with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos launched the recall effort, citing his refusal to decertify President Joe Biden’s narrow win in the state in 2020. Vos further angered Trump supporters when he did not back a plan to impeach Meagan Wolfe, the state’s top elections official.

Staff at the Wisconsin Elections Commission recommended on Wednesday that the petition be rejected, saying organizers had not gathered enough valid signatures. And the commission voted 5−0 the following day to reject the recall effort, agreeing that it was clear there were not enough signatures.

“It really boils down to an arithmetic problem,” said Republican commissioner Bob Spindell. "Commission staff looked at it from every single angle, and no matter which angle they looked at, the petitions were woefully short.”

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who Vos had hired to investigate the 2020 election and then later fired calling his work an embarrassment, represented petition circulators. Gableman, like Trump, has been a vocal critic of Vos.

Gableman argued that the recall effort was intentionally sabotaged by people who wanted it to fail, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.

“It was infiltrated by outsiders from New York and Florida,” Gableman said. “That’s been reported to the FBI.”

Vos dismissed petition organizers as “whack jobs and morons" and said previously that the effort had failed after challenging the validity of thousands of signatures.

Vos is the most powerful Republican in the GOP−led Legislature. He was first elected in 2004 and is the longest−serving Assembly speaker in state history, holding the post since 2013.

Recall organizers, recognizing that their initial effort was likely short of the needed signatures, launched a second recall effort last month. That attempt is ongoing and has yet to be submitted to the elections commission for review.

The Associated Press

Photo: AP