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Elections staff confirms Vos recall attempt falls short

Commission staff say Recall Vos organizers didn't collect enough signatures amid unanswered question about which voting maps apply

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

Wisconsin Elections Commission staff have confirmed that conservative activists trying to recall Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos didn’t gather enough signatures from the right places to trigger an election.

But as one recall wraps up, those organizers say they’re already working to recall Vos again. 

WEC staff vetted thousands of signatures submitted by Burlington resident Matt Snorek in March. To initiate a recall election, Snorek and others in the Recall Vos campaign needed a number of signatures totaling at least “25 percent of the number of electors who cast a vote for governor” in the district two years ago.

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That posed a challenge for the WEC because the Wisconsin Supreme Court declared legislative voting maps, under which Vos was elected to the 63rd Assembly District in 2022, unconstitutional. Under new voting maps, which were passed by Republicans and signed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, Vos lives in the new 33rd Assembly District.

Attorney’s with Vos’ campaign argued the recall against him must be rejected because the recall petitions used to gather signatures listed the 63rd District. 

The WEC asked the Supreme Court to clarify which maps it should use for the potential recall, but the court declined

In the end, after tossing hundreds of signatures challenged by Vos as invalid, commission staff tallied signatures from the 63rd, 33rd Districts. They also counted signatures gathered from residents in the new 66th Assembly District, which includes part of Vos’ old seat. 

“Not enough valid signatures were submitted from either old AD 63 or new AD 33 for the petition to be valid, and because Representative Vos was neither elected to new AD 66 nor lives within the territory of that district, staff do not believe that this petition could cause a recall election against representative Vos to be held regarding that territory,” wrote WEC attorney Brandon Hunzicker.

Members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which is split 3-3 between Republican and Democratic appointees, are scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to approve the recommendation.

Snorek has already launched a second attempt to recall the speaker. Signed petitions for the new recall effort must be submitted to the WEC no later than May 28.