Six members of the Republican Party will appear as Democratic candidates on ballots for recall elections in an effort to postpone the election of a new governor.
The recall elections for Gov. Scott Walker (R), Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) and four Wisconsin Republican senators have been scheduled for either May 8 or June 5. By recruiting these protest candidates, the state Republican Party has ensured that primary elections would take place on May 8, pushing the general election to June 5. This will cause confusion for college students whose addresses, and therefore voting district, will have changed since the end of school.
According to attorney Jeremy P. Levinson in a partisan primary, candidates are required to file a “Declaration of Candidacy” form GAB-162 with the Government Accountability Board (GAB). The form requires those filing to state their candidacy under oath.
Levinson says the protest candidates are committing felony election fraud. “Clearly, a candidate running in a Democratic primary for the purpose of disadvantaging that party and giving electoral advantage to the Republican Party and the Republican incumbent the Democrats seek to recall can do so only by falsifying his or her declaration of candidacy,” he said.
Proponents of the protest candidacies argue that it is not illegal for Republicans to run under one party while belonging to another.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Ben Sparks, a spokesman for the Republican Party, said in a statement, “Their candidacy will ensure election fairness going forward and guarantee there is one primary and general election date for all candidates.”
This issue will be brought to the GAB sometime in the coming weeks, but according to Reid Magney, a GAB spokesman, party affiliation does not affect a candidate’s eligibility to be named on the ballot.