Total Recall: Wisconsin

Thu, Mar 3 2011 by Staff

It looks like both sides in the union versus budget debate in Wisconsin are preparing to fire their recall artillery at each other as both Republican and Democrat state senators could face campaigns to remove them from office:

Republican Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, is among nine senators being targeted by recall attempts.

The recall paperwork was filed in recent days. A state Senate impasse persists over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.

Two conservative groups with a libertarian bent hope a poll they released this fall seemingly showing support for statewide initiatives and popular referendums in election ballots will spark conversation among Wisconsinites.

Read the story from the Post Crescent

(MADISON, WI) – The overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites want a direct say in government through statewide initiative and referendum rights, according to a recent poll.
Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process and the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a free market think tank in Wisconsin, released the results of an opinion poll conducted in the state on voter support for initiative and referendum rights. The results were clear, with 63% of voters supporting and only 16% opposing.

Of the 45 states whose legislatures hold sessions in 2010, 27 of them have adjourned for the year, and 5 more will wrap up before the end of the month. Of the more than 80 bills dealing with the initiative and referendum process in various states, 51 of them would have reduced citizens’ initiative rights. Thanks to the work of activists in our coalitions, only 3 bills reducing citizen’s rights have passed and become law.

Several years ago while myself and several other Wisconsin activists were working on the recall of a City of Milwaukee Alderman, the recall effort was going on during a regularly scheduled election so we told the group collecting signatures to stand just outside of the polling locations and approach the voters as they were going in to vote. This seemed like a simple and easy way to gather signatures because all of those going in to vote were residents of the district of the alderman that we were attempting to recall.

Last Sunday the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran an editorial blatantly attacking the citizens and their powers of local direct initiative and recall. My response, which is copied below to the ridiculous claims of the Journal-Sentinel were published in today’s edition.


Recalls, Direct Legislation Are Vital

The name Wisconsin is practically synonymous with Progressivism, yet
this state has never had a statewide initiative and referendum process.
Indeed, it is one of only three states where voters turned down their
opportunity to get it (Texas and Rhode Island are the others). The
circumstances were as follows.

In 1907 Lieutenant Governor W. D. Connor and State Senator W. D.
Brazeau took up the cause and secured approval in the state senate by a
19 to 5 vote, but lost in the lower house. The Progressive reformers had

The effort to put a school merger on the ballot is being tested. A petition to have residents in both the Chetek and Weyerhaeuser school districts vote on a merger between the two is being certified Thursday night. The two school boards recently voted to consolidate next July. A petition to send that decision to a referendum then started going around Weyerhaeuser.   The petition was turned in with 132 signatures. Only 52 valid signatures are needed to put the merger on the ballot. That petition is being certified.

The Power of Recall

Thu, Jul 9 2009 by Staff

One powerful citizen tool that we don’t talk about as much here on the CICF Blog is the power of recall. Recall allows voters to remove a particularly unresponsive, corrupt, or even unpopular elected official from office before their term is up. Citizens in 18 states have the power to recall state-level officials. Many other local jurisdictions give their voters recall powers as well.

Citizen State Coordinators

Fri, Jun 26 by Anonymous

Contact the Citizen State Coordinator in your state to get involved protecting and expanding the initiative and referendum process. If you don’t see a Coordinator listed for your state, click here to apply.


National Citizen Coordinator - Greg Schmid

Click here to email Greg.


Arizona - Eric Ehst

Click here to email Eric


California - Bruce Cohen

Click here to email Bruce


Speed cameras on U.S. highways?

Thu, Jun 4 2009 — Source: CNN

Lawmakers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Montana and Mississippi failed to get a freeway speed camera measure onto a ballot, but points to Maryland as an example of lawmakers’ success. He says 13 states have specific laws banning freeway cameras, but he sees a natural progression from states using red-light cameras to using freeway speed cameras.

Read the story from CNN

Kenosha area lawmakers are lining up behind a recent legal opinion confirming the legality of toting unconcealed firearms in public places.

Read the story from Kenosha News

In addition to electing two statewide offices and several local races, Wisconsinites voted on several referendums Tuesday. Voters in six school districts weighed in on funding referendums.

Read the story from WISC-TV

A group of Wisconsinites has formed a committee to explore recalling governor Jim Doyle. Recall supporters would need to collect over 500,000 signatures within 60 days of formally beginning their collection efforts.

Read the story from the Kenosha News

A federal district court ruled has ruled that Wisconsin’s campaign finance reporting requirements are overly restrictive on First Amendment rights in a case arising from a referendum campaign. According to Wisconsin’s election law, two Whitewater citizens who sought to distribute flyers and yard signsagainst a local referendum would have had to register with the state and comply with a host of other reporting regulations. The citizens brought suit and won, striking down the restrictions.