Scott Walker Is Finally Forced to Call Special Elections in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Republicans blasted for effort to leave seats vacant

Judge orders emergency hearing on elections

Governor Scott Walker will not appeal to the state Supreme Court, on an appeals court's denial of his request for 8 more days to call special elections in two vacant legislative seats. On Thursday, the governor called the special elections - clearing the way for the voters of Wisconsin's 1st state Senate district and 42nd state Assembly district to choose their representatives on June 12.

In his one-page ruling.

Both the Dane County judge and an appeals court judge shut down the former argument, ordering Walker to comply by today's deadline.

But Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess said there's no way to know what the Legislature may do, so Walker must abide by the order last week giving him until Thursday to order the special elections by June.

DOJ lawyers asked the Wisconsin Court of Appeals to reconsider the case on Wednesday, but their appeal was quickly rejected.

Walker has been admonished by two state circuit court judges for dragging his feet and, in their view, violating a state law that requires Wisconsin governors to call special elections for vacancies "as promptly as possible".

"Obama Attorney General Eric Holder and his Washington, D.C. -based special interest group are behind the legal push to force Wisconsin taxpayers to pay for special elections for seats that will be filled in a few months in the normal elections", Walker wrote.

Republican lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit special elections after the spring elections in a year with regular fall elections.

If Ripp and Lasee's open seats were filled in November, the winners wouldn't have been sworn in until January, leaving Ripp and Lasee's constituents unrepresented for more than a year.

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Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is defending his proposal to eliminate requirements for prompt special elections to fill legislative vacancies.

Marc Elias, a Democratic attorney representing voters seeking the special elections, said Walker risked being in contempt of the earlier court order if he decides not to follow should the Legislature change the law next week.

The bill being pushed by GOP leaders stated that it would apply retroactively, "notwithstanding any other law, court order, or order of the governor". The Senate seat covers the Door County peninsula northeast of Green Bay and the Assembly seat is in a mostly rural area north of Madison.

Passing a bill to effectively cancel the elections would throw a "monkey wrench" into the process, Fitzgerald said, and would raise the prospect of having "another judge slapping us down". Spokesman Reid Magney said the commission stopped tracking costs past year after commissioners discontinued the practice because state law doesn't require it to do so.

It's unclear what steps the Senate will take now that Walker has said he will call the special elections. Keith Ripp and then-Sen.

Walker might have conceded defeat and scheduled the elections, but he's not done complaining.

The absentee voting bill, which had been requested by the state Elections Commission and was passed by the Assembly, is being amended to include the changes to the state's special election law to address Reynolds' ruling.

Responding to news special elections will be held, former US attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., chairman of the NDRC, said, "This is a victory for the citizens of Wisconsin who are without representation because of Gov". Democrat Patty Schachtner captured the seat in a heavily Republican district about eight weeks later.

Circulation of nomination papers for candidates can begin March 29 and nomination papers must be filed no later than 5 p.m. April 17.

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