Republican lawmakers have an unlimited capacity for mischief, especially when it comes to trying to delay the inevitable recall elections coming sooner or later this year.
State Rep. Robin Vos has asked the Government Accountability Board to create an online, searchable data base of everyone who signs a recall petition.
Why? So citizens can search the hundreds of thousands of names looking for mistakes, he says:
"I can't imagine why you wouldn't appreciate the help of people all over Wisconsin who better know the names and streets in their own communities than a staff person at GAB."
Can you imagine the chaos that would create, with everyone and his brother checking for possible errors? It would be quite convenient, though, for the right-wing vigilantes who seem interested in punishing people who exercise their rights to recall an elected official.
The thing is, that's not the way the system works. The law says the person being recalled can challenge signatures, just like Vos can challenge the signatures of someone running against him. It is not even the GAB's responsibility, although the GOP managed to find a Waukesha County judge, a former GOP state senator himself, to order the GAB to look for duplicates. The GAB is already going beyond the legal requirements as a result.
Vos says the petitions are public documents, just like contracts and expense reports that are online. But the petitions Vos or other candidates circulated to get on the ballot are not in a searchable data base, so that people can look for errors or see which of their neighbors signed them. Why not? Because the law doesn't require it, and it is time consuming and costly.
Vos's request is not about transparency. It is about wanting to cause as much delay, uncertainty and outright chaos as possible during the recall process. The GOP hopes people will just get sick of the whole process, and will blame it on the Dems.
But people are smarter than that. It is very clear who is gaming the system, and Vos, Scott Walker,the Fitzgerald boys and others who keep trying to throw up smokescreens and roadblocks may well end up paying a political price for their cynical games.
UPDATE: Democurmudgeon blog has more.