Wisconsin judge rejects attempt to revive recall case against top Republican lawmaker

Wisconsin judge rejects attempt to revive recall case against top Republican lawmaker

A judge on Tuesday rejected an attempt to revive the recall effort targeting Wisconsin’s longest-serving Assembly speaker in state history, likely ending the recall campaign.

MADISON, Wis. — A judge on Tuesday rejected an attempt to revive the recall effort targeting Wisconsin’s longest-serving Assembly speaker in state history, saying the signatures were improperly collected under legislative limits that are now barred from use in any election.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump had called for the recall of Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos after he refused calls to decertify President Joe Biden’s narrow victory in the state. Biden’s victory of about 21,000 votes has withstood two partial recounts, lawsuits, an independent audit and an assessment by a conservative law firm.

Vos further angered Trump supporters when he failed to support a plan to impeach Meagan Wolfe, the state’s top election official.

Vos recall organizers failed to gather enough signatures to trigger an election in their first attempt in May. Last month, the Wisconsin Elections Commission rejected a second recall attempt in a bipartisan vote, also ruling that it had not gathered the necessary number of signatures.

Referendum organizers appealed the decision in Dane County Court on Friday. On Tuesday, Dane County Judge Stephen Ehlke ruled that the organizers’ attempt to force a vote based on old legislative maps violated a state Supreme Court order barring the use of those boundaries.

Referendum organizers had collected signatures for the recall effort from voters in the 63rd Assembly District, the one Vos was elected to represent in 2022. But in December, the Wisconsin Supreme Court banned the use of those boundary lines in the future.

The Legislature approved new maps that place Vos in a new 33rd Assembly District.

The election commission had asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to clarify the boundaries of the districts that would apply to the recall, but the court declined to rule.

The referendum organizers argued that the electoral commission should have accepted signatures collected after the 60-day deadline for circulating petitions expired, but before the deadline for submitting petitions.

But Ehlke did not even address this issue because he ruled that the signatures had been collected in the old district.

“Simply put, this court will not order the WEC to do what the Wisconsin Supreme Court prohibits,” Ehlke wrote, referring to the elections commission.

Recall organizers issued a statement calling Ehlke’s decision wrong and saying the Supreme Court could not have intended to deny Wisconsinites the right to recall an incumbent. They said they looked forward to pursuing the case in higher courts, indicating they planned to appeal.