Earlier this month I called bullshit on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s failure to hold special elections to fill vacant legislative seats after appointing GOP legislators to administrative positions (Walker Sued Over Elections, His Excuse?)
The arguments involved are: under the one voter one vote rule, Wisconsin residents aren’t being represented in Madison as long as these seats remain unfilled…while the governor says he is being fiscally responsible by not wasting money on elections.
Well, Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds, who was appointed to the bench in 2014 by one Governor Scott Walker, ruled that under current law the governor is responsible for holding the special elections to fill the vacancies.
(Judge Reynolds) determined Walker had a duty under state law to hold special elections so voters could have representation in the Legislature. She said failing to hold special elections infringed on the voting rights of people who lived in the two districts.
“To state the obvious, if the plaintiffs have a right to vote for their representatives, they must have an election to do so,” said Reynolds.
So the good governor is preparing to hold the elections, right? Well no, Certainly the ruling will be appealed and the Wisconsin Supreme Court will most likely overrule the circuit court. But in the meantime the GOP majority leaders are preparing a bill to change the law! No, really.
One day after a judge dealt Republicans a setback by ordering special elections, Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow GOP leaders in the Legislature said they will pass legislation to block those elections.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said they would take up legislation to change special election rules after a Dane County judge ruled that Walker must call special elections to fill two legislative seats that have been vacant almost three months. Walker quickly committed to signing the bill, which has not yet been released.
The party of law after having broken the law wants to amend the law to allow them to avoid the ramifications of the law and by passing the new law might be breaking the law (no I didn’t follow that either):
In a news conference Friday, Fitzgerald could offer no specifics on what legislative changes he would make to halt the elections and acknowledged he wasn’t yet sure if such a bill would be constitutional.
Well constitutional or not, I don’t remember there being laws that could be passed and then applied retroactively. They’ve already broken the current law.
Unfortunately even if special elections would be held, the winners would be in perpetual campaign mode since they would have to run for re-election in the August primary/November general election cycle for 2018. If the GOP actually wants to amend the law, they should maybe throw in a paragraph on special election winners not having to defend their seat if they have served less than a year since the special election.
But no matter the outcome…this should be apparent to all of the voters in the state of Wisconsin: The GOP incumbents in Madison aren’t really intent on protecting your vote…they are intent on protecting their hold on power.
And in his best President Trump impersonation, legislative Assembly Speaker Robin Vos exhibited a prime example of contempt of court:
On Thursday, Vos, the Assembly speaker, dismissed Reynolds as an “activist Dane County judge,” saying he thought the description fit even if she was appointed by Walker.
That isn’t playing well in the Dane County Court system…read to the bottom here to get that story.
Note to Governor Walker: if you want to protect your control of the legislature, don’t appoint legislators to your administration.