GOP throws more wrenches at Wisconsin recalls. Will moderate Dale Schultz help block all of it?

Laws may be enacted to facilitate its operation but no law shall be enacted to hamper, restrict or impair the right of recall.-Wisconsin Constitution

Republican Senator Dale Schultz says he will not be voting for Mary Lazich’s bill SB268 which would bump up the date of redistricting by 1 year – to November 2011 instead of November 2012. In doing so, he is lending a deciding vote to Wisconsin Dems in the state senate and ensuring that citizens can work on recalling other state legislators when they work to recall Scott Walker starting November 15th.

But it’s unclear as of yet how Schultz will vote on two other actions discussed Monday night which also have a significant impact on Walker’s impending recall: a proposed amendment to 840(2) of Wisconsin Statue which would require a notary public to certify each sheet of recall signatures and what is technically LRB-3339/1 which allows local clerks to recruit pollworkers from the entire county instead of only the most local municipality or town put forward by Senators Lazich, Grothman, and Kedzie .

I just called Senator Schultz’ office and was told by his staffer he hasn’t made a formal decision on the other 2 bills and in fact I was only the 2nd person to ask about the poll worker bill. I asked him to extend my thanks to Dale Schultz for being a moderate Republican in Wisconsin and said it gives me hope. I asked if he’s getting a lot of nasty calls from Republicans. He replied, “Oh yeah. But that’s OK. We consider ourselves a tough bunch, here”.

Madame Chair, a word with you on your redistricting plan…

Lazich said in committee last night that SB268 is necessary because Assembly and Senate members currently represent the new districts drawn by the GOP in Act 43 but recalls initiated this fall will rely on “old” district maps and thus signatures from individuals who voted in those maps.

Senator Coggs said that “the people who elected me in the first place should have the right to recall me, not the people whom I’ve never served before even though I technically serve them because of your bill…”

Or as I would word it, I want to be represented by somebody I had a chance to vote for, not by somebody who got switched to my geographic region by a majority of Wisconsin Republicans and $400,000 of legal work at taxpayer expense.

He said the simple solution would be for Wisconsin to stick to what it has been doing which is representing all “old” districts until elections and switching to new redistrict maps at time of election. “We represent the district we were elected to until there is a regular election again”.

I’ve heard this whole discussion once. I am listening again. And either Lazich is stubborn as a mule or is a fantastic actress. Every statement she makes assumes that legislators will represent the GOP’s newly drawn map right now.

Update: And illusory tenant has a post which explains why Kevin Kennedy said in testimony [roughly paraphrased] “And I have concerns about the Assembly districts but you have asked me to not raise those here”

Lazich: “That can be done. That is what is probably what has been done since the beginning of time..This recall landscape is a whole new world for us… So to do that-Let’s just say we did that…because we have recalls if we do that we are disenfranchising those odd number districts because they would right now recall us in those old districts and you’d recall a senator that has got 3 years left on their term and the people in that district couldn’t make the decision on it. They couldn’t do the recall and they couldn’t vote for the person to be the senator. They are disenfranchised if we made the consistency the other way. That’s the problem.”

To add to the confusion, the committee kept on referring to a court case brought by Judy Robson and 14 other citizens which is in progress and could nullify the newly drawn districts. They say the new map disenfranchises 300,000 voters.

Good video here of Bryan Bliss’ testimony. Well worth your time.
“Mary Lazich in your district we went door to door and there were lockstep tried and true straight party Republicans who came to the door and said “You know what I’m not promising to vote for whoever goes on this ticket but I am signing this recall petition.” 20,000 people wanted you out because you betrayed them. You lied to them. You shook their hands, you took their money. You representated yourself in a way that said I will represent you and you didn’t do that. The politicians that say “representation” in such jingoistic ways while at the same time selling us out and betraying us to your corporate donors and buddies- you need to stand accountable. And it is our constitutional right. No law shall be effected to restrict or inhibit recall recall and that’s exactly what this law does.”

Senator Lazich cheats, restacks deck for Recalls from bryan bliss on Vimeo.

[Watch all of the committee’s testimony in full here. More on Schultz stalling the redistricting plan is at madison.com.]

Lazich Now Notorious for Notary Push

As we sit here reading this, an army of volunteers and trainers are readying themselves to gather signatures to recall Walker. And Lazich and friends scurry to add one more hoop for them to jump through. Another Lazich bill would require a notary public to certify the signature gatherer – not each individual signature which appears on each recall sheet. However in yesterday’s hearing G.A.B.’s Kevin Kennedy made clear that when the signature gatherer gets that sheet of, for example, 10 signatures notorized, they are taking an oath which opens them up to possibly felony conviction.

I’m not so sure the notary requirement really has a dampening effect on recall volunteers. They are passionate volunteer citizens who take their duty very seriously already. Which is why this looks like its supposed to act as a speed bump, slowing down the recall process against Walker, which needs to gather 540,000 or so signatures minimum within a 60 day time period.

I called SWDFI and spoke with a very helpful secretary who had no idea about Lazich’s notary plan and has not gotten a rash of calls. From her: every Wednesday new notary public authorizations go out. If I submitted a complete application today, it would go out tomorrow.

I did a bit of asking around on twitter and fellow Wisconsinites said they have been charged everything from nothing to $15 for a notary seal, however the figure Kevin Kennedy gave as an example in testimony was 50 cents per signature. Friends on twitter said they’ve gotten documents notarized at libraries and banks. I doubt a public library would gouge recall volunteers because they have a civic mission. I have no such feeling about banks since, well — they are all about money and there seem to be more people marching in a street somewhere yelling about them every day.

And these are political documents, with multiples of signatures on each page. That’s not a real estate document. Will all banks handle them? My one quick call to a guy named Jim at UW Credit Union in Madison gave me hope. He said they notarize any and all documents for members but don’t notarize at all for non-members.

I learned if I decide to become a notary public, I have to fill out a form from SWDFI, pay $20, purchase a “notary public” seal, complete either an online test or essay, and get a “notary public bond” in the amount of $500 which looks like it would run me another $20. I would have to purchase a separate Errors and Omissions policy to gain protection against whatever civil lawsuit might be brought against me for my work.

Lazich’s notary public push is technically called LRB−3341/1 at the moment.

Want to work the polls? What party are you from?

You may not be aware that a Wisconsin state statute already on the books calls for clerks to first refer to lists of Democrats and Republicans when recruiting poll workers. Pridemore and Lazich are pledging to call for enforcement of this statute and using that as ammo for a bill to allow municipal or town clerks to cull from their greater county populations when looking for poll workers.

There could be some goodness to this and there could be a lot of evil in the implementation of this (like so many things, but especially in Wisconsin politics). This bill widens the pool of potential applicants where poll workers are unpaid volunteers. This bill might tick off the occasional independent or third party voter who operated under the delusion that the two party system wasn’t running things. And this will give some of the red communities in Milwaukee County a chance to get their workers into the City of Milwaukee: an area from which they believe voter fraud flows like water through the Wolf River.