How will Wisconsin recall elections work?

Will all of the recall elections be held on the same day?

If recalled, does that mean a vacancy until another election?

… and would all of those elections be held on the same day?

It looks like the recall is like a regular election. If there are multiple candidates, there will be a recall primary. You leave office, if defeated, once the election results are certified. Also, you have to wait a year before asking for a recall.

from :

i think the recall term length is the original term time frame no matter who wins.

From Minnesota, which I think is pretty similar. Based on vacancies caused by resignations (usually when appointed to something else), but they are similar to recalls. (We’ve got one happening right now.)

The position becomes vacant when a resignation is submitted. Often a legislator will submit a resignation ‘effective on’ some date in the future; this gives time to prepare for it.

The Governor sets a date for a special Primary election (if needed) and for a Special General election. The Governor has pretty wide discretion in setting these, and can use that to help his own party. For example, Republican Gov. Pawlenty once scheduled a special election for the week between Christmas and New Years, in a district with a lot of college students (who mostly voted democratic) – a time when most of these students would be home on break and might not be there to vote. Another time, in a similar college town, he scheduled the election for a few days before the Fall semester began.

Also, if there are multiple districts with special elections, the Governor could schedule them all for the same day, or on different dates. All on the same day tends to increase turnout, which (in Minnesota) helps democrats. But it also means your campaign workers are spread thinner than if they were on different days. And republicans usually have more paid campaign workers. Lots of political considerations can go into this decision.

After the election, the results are certified (usually in just a couple of days) and the newly-elected person is seated in the Legislature. Until this, the seat has been vacant since the resignation became effective. If the legislature is closely divided, this vacancy may give one party a short-term advantage – they can try to rush through legislation while a vote or an important committee assignment is vacant.

For a recall, rather than a resignation, state laws sometimes keeps the recalled legislator in office until his replacement is elected (or he is re-elected). This is to ensure that the constituents of that district are not deprived of representation during this period. I don’t know if this is true in Wisconsin.

IIRC (may be wrong but think this is it or close enough):

In Wisconsin you cannot initiate a recall till the elected official has been in office for one year.

If they have been in for one year there is some (odd) calculation that determines the number of signatures you need to collect to initiate a recall.

If you obtain sufficient signatures then a new vote ensues.

I am unclear if this means a whole new election is held or if the politician merely runs again in the next scheduled election.

Note that the recall merely means the politician has to run for re-election. They are not automatically out. Anyone can run against them…like a normal election.

The above only refers to Wisconsin and I may have it wrong but I think the above is pretty close. For other states YMMV.

In the recall election that elected Arnold Schwarzenegger governor of California, pretty much anyone and everyone could run. The ballot was four pages long, three and a half of which were the list of replacement candidates. These included Gary Coleman, Larry Flynt, some porn star, and the lieutenant governor who was campaigning to keep Davis in office (“after you vote ‘No’ on the recall, vote for ME!”).

Perhaps Wisconsin will have their own version of the Governator (or Jesse Ventura) come out of the woodwork if this happens.

Each state has it own rules.

I am vague on the details but in Wisconsin my understanding is a recall means a new election. Anyone can run including the person who was recalled.

Basically the recall means you face an election before you ordinarily would have to.

So all it takes to recall someone is a certain number of signatures and at that point a new election takes place?

Yep. In Wisconsin at least (each state will have its own laws that govern a recall…if they even allow a recall).

From the Wisconsin constitution a new election is held 6 weeks after the recall petition is filed. The person being recalled can run again if they want to. Anyone else can run as well (as provided for by law to get on the ballot). The winner of the election serves the remainder of the term then goes up for re-election as usual for that position.

Only one recall may be done per term for that particular person.

Here’s a site that list some of the rules (with a pdf of all the rules on the bottom) and a list of who is currently at risk of being recalled.

The number of signatures required to trigger a recall is one-quarter of the number of votes cast for governor (in that district) in the most recent gubernatorial election.

From the pdf file linked at the bottom, the recall election is held the Tuesday of the 6th week after the petition is filed, so for some of those, they may end up on the same date.

If a recall occurs and the official being recalled is reelected, does their term start over? For example, the governor has a 4 year term once elected. If after a year they are recalled, but reelected during the recall election, does the governor serve the remaining 3 years of their term or do they serve another 4 years from the recall date?

original term is in effect for whoever wins.

In Wisconsin, whoever gets elected in a recall serves the remainder of the original term. At the next general election, anyone may run, including the incumbent, but the incumbent isn’t automatically on the ballot.

At least this is the way it worked at the county level a few years ago.

So if a new candidate is reelected after the first year, they would only serve the remaining 3 years of the original term?

A full one-fourth of the number of actual voters in the last election? On first blush, that seems prohibitive. Is there any chance of getting that number of voters to sign a petition?

In a county recall election, with about 16 of 21 supervisors targeted for recall (because of the way they voted), the recall group was successful in getting considerably more than 25%. Since some signers are bogus (not in the right district, not registered, duplicates, can’t read the name or address, just confused), and the clerk needs to certify that ALL sigs counted are genuine, it is considered a good idea to collect TWICE what you really need.

Just remember that very few people ever vote in local elections, so if your group is dedicated and goes door-to-door, you can get sigs from people who are eligible voters but didn’t vote the last time around. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s not the sort of requirement that is impossible to meet. You can even tell the potential signers that they aren’t throwing someone out of office, they’re just bringing it to a vote, so they don’t have to agree with the reason for recall. Sort of like “I’ll second the motion just to allow discussion.”

Whoever is elected serves whatever is remaining. Is that what you mean?

It’s 1/4th of the votes cast in that district in the last election. A large number, but not impossible. And any registered voters count, not just those who actually voted last time. Even newly-registered voters count. So work on young people, register them to vote and get them to sign a recall petition at the same time. The actual numbers seem to be between 10,000-15.000 in most of the Wisconsin districts.