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Vos recall organizers have until Monday afternoon to produce signatures

Conservatives hoping to oust Wisconsin's longest serving Assembly Speaker need nearly 7,000 signatures to force a recall election

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos talks with fellow Assembly members before the Wisconsin Governor addressed a joint session of the Legislature for the State of the State speech at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, in Madison. Andy Manis/AP Photo

Organizers hoping to remove Wisconsin’s top Republican from office have until Monday afternoon hand in the required signatures to trigger a recall election, according to the state’s elections agency.

The recall effort against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, was launched in January by conservative activists who claim he’s “blocking fair elections” by not moving forward with the impeachment of Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe. They’ve also keyed in on comments made in 2022 when he said he would try hard to prevent Trump from being the GOP nominee in 2024.

Vos has called the recall “a waste of time, resources and effort.” 

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A WEC spokesperson told WPR the recall signatures must be filed with the commission by Monday at 5 p.m. To force an election, organizers need nearly 7,000 signatures from Vos’s Assembly district in southeastern Wisconsin.

In an interview with WPR, recall volunteer Harry Wait of Union Grove said he’s not sure if the recall organizers have already “crossed the finish line” with regard to signatures. 

“But, if not, I know they’re very close,” Wait said. 

Wait faces felony charges for requesting absentee ballots using Vos’ name and address without permission in 2022, but said at the time he did so to show vulnerabilities in the state’s online voter portal system.

Vos needs to go, Wait said, claiming the speaker lied to constituents during a local meeting of a group called H.O.T. Government about things like ballot drop boxes.

“He plays both sides of the fence,” Wait said. “So, in my opinion … he came in as a guest speaker, and he left as a stinking three day old dead fish.”

In a recent video advertisement, Vos pushed back against the recall effort, labeling organizers “out of state agitators.” 

As for his support of Trump, Vos said he backed Florida Republican Gov. Ron Desantis in the GOP primary “because I thought he had the best chance to beat Joe Biden in November.” 

“I would never vote for Joe Biden and will cast my ballot for the GOP nominee in November, Donald Trump,” Vos said. 

Vos was first elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 2004 and has won reelection ever since. He’s also the state’s longest-serving Assembly speaker in Wisconsin history.

While he’s no stranger to ire from Democrats, Vos has faced growing attacks from some right-wing conservatives following Trump’s 2020 loss to President Joe Biden. 

Vos ordered an investigation into the election following intense pressure from Trump, who threatened him and other Republican leaders, saying they could be “primaried and quickly run out of office” for failing to act. Vos appointed former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to lead the investigation, which produced a report alleging the WEC issued unlawful guidance in 2020 and suggested the Legislature consider decertifying Biden’s victory, which election law experts say is impossible. 

Vos disbanded Gableman’s office in 2022 after Trump and the former justice endorsed little-known Republican Adam Steen in a primary against Vos. Shortly after defeating Steen by just 260 votes, Vos let loose on Gableman, calling him “an embarrassment to the state.”

Last month, state ethics investigators recommended felony charges against Trump’s Save America political action committee, three county GOP arms and state Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, for illegally bypassing state campaign finance rules during that primary campaign.