Recall elections cost $13.5 million

2012-09-16T00:00:00Z 2012-09-16T07:56:11Z Recall elections cost $13.5 millionThe Associated Press The Associated Press
September 16, 2012 12:00 am  • 

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker’s June recall election and the primary held a month before it cost taxpayers more than $13 million, the board that oversees elections in Wisconsin reported Friday.

The Government Accountability Board stressed that its findings were merely an estimate and not audited. The figures were reported at lawmakers’ request.

La Crosse County spent about $24,500 on the recall election and primary, according to the county clerk. That accounts for printing costs and legal notices but not the time required for county staff to prepare for the elections.

Municipalities bear the brunt of the election costs — including poll worker wages and postage for absentee ballots.

Including staff time, the city of La Crosse shelled out more than $68,500 for the May and June elections, according to the city clerk. Onalaska spent more than $32,000.

State Rep. Robin Vos, a Republican critic of the recalls and the presumptive next speaker of the Assembly, said he’s “more committed than ever to recall the recalls” in Wisconsin. He called the $13.5 million price tag an “outrage.”

Vos, currently co-chair of the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, said he will introduced a constitutional amendment that would only allow elected officials to be recalled if they committed a crime or malfeasance in office.

Under current law, office holders can be recalled for any reason as long as the required number of petition signatures is collected. More than 931,000 people signed petitions to recall Walker, although he went on to easily win the recall election.

There appears to be strong public support for limiting recalls following 15 recall elections dating back to last year. Exit polls following Walker’s recall found that 60 percent of voters agreed with Vos’ idea that politicians should only face recalls for malfeasance or criminal activity.

For that law change to take place, it would have to pass the full Legislature twice over two different sessions and then be approved in a statewide referendum.

Vos and other critics of the recall frequently pointed to their costs as one argument against them. Along with Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state senators faced recalls this year. One Republican lost, giving Democrats control of the state Senate through the end of the year.

Recall supporters argued the costs were justified to hold the election that was essentially a referendum on Walker and supporters of his conservative agenda.

Walker’s defeat of Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett made him the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall. During the recall fight, and the battle over union rights that preceded it, Walker became a national conservative hero.

The $13.5 million in costs for the May and June recall elections included $4.8 million in poll worker wages, $3.6 million in staff salaries, $1.7 million to print ballots and $1.2 million for programming election equipment.

Local election clerks also reported spending just over $1 million for training poll workers for the two recall elections and the regularly scheduled April spring and presidential primary election. Total costs for the April election were $7.6 million.

Kevin Kennedy, director of the GAB, said the additional unplanned elections put “significant stress” on local election officials.

Along with the election costs, Kennedy said processing the recall petitions that were circulated to force the elections and other expenses totaled $663,000.

The Tribune’s Chris Hubbuch contributed to this report.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. Balancr
    Report Abuse
    Balancr - September 16, 2012 5:56 pm
    Scott Walker - the Governor of the United States of America.
  2. rufus
    Report Abuse
    rufus - September 16, 2012 5:36 pm
    birnout celticman where r u?
  3. easy
    Report Abuse
    easy - September 16, 2012 4:28 pm
    Remember the old sarcastic joke from back in the sixties -- "I'm an open minded liberal, and I'll be one til the day I die."
  4. Sampson
    Report Abuse
    Sampson - September 16, 2012 3:07 pm
    Thank you Dagda for giving us a peek of how awesome the liberal mind is...
  5. taxedout
    Report Abuse
    taxedout - September 16, 2012 12:46 pm
    Wouldn't a picture of Tom Barrett be more appropriate?
  6. Tim Russell
    Report Abuse
    Tim Russell - September 16, 2012 11:35 am
    When did Mike Huebsch start doing the GAB's estimates?
  7. FUBAR
    Report Abuse
    FUBAR - September 16, 2012 9:07 am
    Do you have ANY clue? He saved many teachers their jobs by ending collective barganing. It was either the teachers pay more for their benefits or teachers lose their jobs. 13.5 mill is what people like you cost us. (PSST, I didn't even vote for Walker the first time around) Why do Liberals in this country always have to blame everyone else on the problems in this country? They never seem to look in the mirror once in awhile.
  8. Tracie
    Report Abuse
    Tracie - September 16, 2012 8:52 am
    Hammer, the Governor did not call for the re-election, therefore he did not cost us money. It's the people who didn't like his reforms who cost this state way too much money. Money that was building as a surplus because of the reforms they didn't like. Money that could have gone to schools, children, people who are sick or the elderly.

    And, now we're going to have to waste more money on fighting the repeal from the activist judge in Madison.
  9. Richy
    Report Abuse
    Richy - September 16, 2012 8:50 am
    I couldn't of said it better!
  10. mocha1
    Report Abuse
    mocha1 - September 16, 2012 8:18 am
    More lunacy from the left of the alternative universe they live in. It is the governors fault he was elected not once but twice by the citizens of Wisconsin, who chose his policies over the liberal agenda. They blame him for the immature hissy fit they threw when they did not get their way. Must run in the liberal genes, Blame Bush, Blame Walker, Blame guns, Blame someone or something for the failures of the liberal agenda.
  11. hammer
    Report Abuse
    hammer - September 16, 2012 7:42 am
    This Governor has done nothing but cost us money and jobs.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick