When the United Wisconsin movement set out to recall and remove Governor Scott Walker, they set exceptionally high standards.
They trained tens of thousands of volunteers.
They set up a meticulous review process for petitions so that dubious signatures were identified quickly and addressed. Signers were called and asked to clarify information that was incorrect. If they could not, their names were struck.
Even then, more than 150,000 petition sheets were reviewed once more to assure that they were properly prepared. Finally, on January 17, after two months of morning, noon and night work, the United Wisconsin campaign filed more than 1 million signatures to recall Walker—along with 840,000 to recall Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and almost 100,000 more signatures to recall four state senators.
The petition gathering and review process was meticulous. It was demanding work, and it was done by volunteers: retirees, students, small business owners and teachers, nurses, doctors, bus drivers and firefighters.
This was classic grassroots politics—played out in an age of big money and big media.
And it worked.
The confirmation of the success of the petition drive, which was never really in doubt, came from none other than Scott Walker.
On Monday, Walker’s campaign announced that the governor will not file challenges—which were due today—against any of the signatures filed against him.
Walker’s campaign is still trying to help groups associated with a so-called "Verify the Recall" project, which is backed by state and national right-wing groups, to gain standing to challenge sigantures. In addition to a demand that the state Government Accountability Board identify and strike duplicate and clearly ficticious — something the board says it will do — the governor’s campaign argued in a filing with the GAB that the agency should act on complaints filed by groups associated with the "Verify the Recall" project — even though those complaints might come from individuals who are not citizens of Wisconsin.
A GAB spokesman explained Monday that the agency isn’t allowed to consider third-party challenges under state law. Challenges are supposed to come from the targeted candidate and his or her campaign. Notably, under Wisconsin law, Walker and his campaign are not allowed to coordinate political activities with supposedly independent groups like those involved with the "Verify the Recall" project.