Original Intent of the Recall Power - MU Law School
Resources for Wisconsin Recalls:
Checklist - prepare before gathering signatures
Legal aspects to recall (word document similar to
Who can sign, who can circulate? (for
back of clipboards)
History of Wis. recalls
GAB page on Recall -
including detailed manual
GAB on Petitioning in Gov't Buildings
GAB on election day petitioning
Ballotpedia on Wisconsin recalls
Find Committees that have registered to recall Senators (CFIS)
El. Bd. Op. 2007-01
bills by number
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Recalling Elected Officials
Summary of Legal Aspects of Recall of
Wisconsin State officials
has these provisions on recall:
- Recall petitions will not be
accepted until after the first year of the term
- The petition shall be signed by
electors equaling at least 25% of the vote cast for Governor at the last
preceding election in the district the incumbent represents.
- The incumbent shall continue to
perform the duties of office until the recall election results are
- The incumbent is on the ballot
automatically, unless they decline. Other candidates file in the manner
provided by law for special elections.
- The filing officer with whom the
recall petition is filed shall call a recall election for the Tuesday of
the 6th week after the date of filing the petition or, if that Tuesday
is a legal holiday, on the first day after that Tuesday which is not a
- For any partisan office, if a party
has more than one candidate, a recall primary shall be held 6 weeks
after the petition is certified. If a primary is held, the final
election is 4 weeks after the primary.
Statute 9.10 has these additional provisions on recall:
The first step is for the petitioner to file a
registration statement with the filing officer. For state offices, the
filing officer is the Government Accountability Board (GAB). The
petitioner then has 60 days to collect signatures and deliver the
The GAB shall certify to the petitioner the number of
Every petition shall have in bold at the top “Recall
Petition”, and shall include the name of the officeholder.
No signature shall be
counted if :
- The address of the
signer is missing or incomplete, or is outside the district.
- The date of the
signature is missing.
- The date falls
outside the circulation period
- The circulator
fails to complete and sign the certificate of circulator on each sheet.
- The signature is
dated after the date of certification contained in the certificate of
- The signer is not
a qualified voter
In order to be a
qualified voter, the signer must be 18, a U.S. citizen, and not
incarcerated or on probation for a felony. (The signer does not have to
be a registered voter.)
The circulator must sign and date the petition after
the signatures are dated.
After the petitions are delivered to the GAB, no
signature may be added or removed.
After the petitions are delivered to the GAB, within
10 days the elected official being challenged may challenge their
validity. The GAB will rule on sufficiency of the petition. The GAB
ruling may be challenged in circuit court.
The elected official against whom the recall is filed
shall be a candidate on the recall ballot, unless they resign. Other
candidates must have their nomination papers in by four weeks before the
election. The winner of the recall election serves the remainder of the
term. After one recall election, no further recall petition may be filed
against the same official during the term.
Who can circulate recall petitions? This
answer is from an email from the Government Accountability Board
|"As we discussed, the circulator need not be a
qualified elector of the district or even this state, so long as the
circulator is a U.S. citizen age 18 or older who, if he or she were a
resident of this state, would not be disqualified from voting under
Sec. 6.03, Wis. Stats. (essentially incompetent or felon not having
Sec. 8.40(2), Wis. Stats. See also
Frami v. Ponto,
255 F.Supp.2d 962 (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
Please remember that all signators on the petition must be residents
of the district subject to recall and qualified voters (not
necessarily already registered though.)
Wisconsin Government Accountability Board
212 E. Washington Avenue, Third Floor
PO Box 7984
Madison , WI 53707-7984
2005 Act 451 (page 39) changed 8.40 (2) to the current wording which
is the basis for the GAB opinion above. The wording was changed as a
result of Frami v Ponto.
Above summary by Paul