Walker won't appeal court order for special elections

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

"The governor and Republican leaders are calling these elections "too expensive" and 'meaningless, ' yet the governor easily could have put these elections on the same schedule as he did the special election for the 10 Senate District, which took place two months after the seat became vacant", said Bowen.

The most recent example happened just this month when Walker called a special session to address school safety bills, and Reynolds said it was "very conceivable" that the Legislature would have to come back into session later this year to address a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Wisconsin's landmark redistricting case.

The two legislative districts in question are the First Senate District in northeastern Wisconsin and the 42nd Assembly District, located north of Madison.

In his one-page ruling.

"Representative government and the election of our representatives are never 'unnecessary, ' never a 'waste of taxpayer resources, ' and the calling of the special elections are. his 'obligation, '" Presiding Judge Paul F. Reilly wrote.

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

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A Madison judge last week ordered Walker to schedule the contests by Thursday, and an appeals court judge refused Walker's request to delay the order. The DOJ, which is representing Walker, notified the 2nd District Court of Appeals on Wednesday that the agency would appeal.

Walker has refused to order special elections to fill seats once occupied by Rep. Keith Ripp and Sen.

When media outlets, public-interest groups and Democrats in the legislature objected to Walker's plan to leave nearly 250,000 Wisconsinites unrepresented for the better part of a year - and suggested, quite appropriately, that he was blocking elections in which his Republican allies might face defeat - the governor dismissed the complaints. The bill would ensure that neither seat is filled until January.

The GOP-controlled Legislature plans to vote next week on a bill changing the special election law. Republican legislative leaders then attacked Reynolds as an "activist Dane County judge", even though she was appointed by Walker in 2014, and announced they would re-convene to pass legislation to nullify the elections. 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. He says he doesn't see a special election as necessary and says he hasn't heard any complaints from constituents. They moved to change the special election law - and make it retroactive.

"Keeping this seat empty is the status quo desired from a select few in positions of power who fear what the outcome of a special election would bring", Zimdars said. "To illustrate how ridiculous this is, nomination papers for the fall elections are due on June 1, which means candidates will already be on the November ballot before the special elections are held".

Democrats have argued that Walker wants to avoid losing the seats to their party in a year that appears to favor Democrats.

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