Court refuses to delay special election order


Scott Walker created a crisis in Wisconsin by appointing two Republican state legislators to posts in his administration last December and then refusing to call special elections to fill the vacancies.

The most recent example happened just this month when Walker called a special session to address school safety bills, and Reynolds said it was "very conceivable" that the Legislature would have to come back into session later this year to address a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Wisconsin's landmark redistricting case.

"Representative government and the election of our representatives are never "unnecessary, ' never a 'waste of taxpayer resources, ' and the calling of the special elections are as the Governor acknowledges his 'obligation" to follow", Reilly wrote.

Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds last week sided with the voters and issued an oral ruling requiring Walker to call special elections by Thursday so the elections would take place by June. A judge denied Walker's request, and the governor decided Wednesday not to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.

Even if Republicans were to lose these seats - which is hardly a given - they would still hold an 18-15 majority in the Wisconsin Senate and a 63-36 majority in the Wisconsin Assembly. Under the bill, Walker would be prohibited from ordering special elections this year.

Republicans are rushing a bill through the Legislature that would eliminate requirements that the governor promptly call special elections to fill legislative vacancies.

Gov. Scott Walker is scheduling special elections for June. Spokesman Reid Magney said the commission stopped tracking costs past year after commissioners discontinued the practice because state law doesn't require it to do so.

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A 2011 change to state law required the appeal be heard outside Madison-based District 4. The Senate seat covers the Door County peninsula northeast of Green Bay and the Assembly seat is in a mostly rural area north of Madison. This year's spring election is Tuesday, and the Legislature plans to convene Wednesday to pass the bill.

In a rapid-fire series of decisions, an appeals court on Wednesday rejected Walker's request that it block the lower court order.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker says Wisconsin law doesn't require him to hold special elections for two legislative seats, which some say his party could have trouble keeping. Frank Lasee, of De Pere, and Rep. Keith Ripp, of Lodi.

Walker might have conceded defeat and scheduled the elections, but he's not done complaining. They must file the papers with the state Elections Commission by 5 p.m. on April 17.

But on Wednesday, the appeals court refused to give Republicans more time to cancel the elections.

"We had a different interpretation, but they determined that's the way to go to move forward", Walker said. And earlier this month, Democrat Conor Lamb, captured what been a reliably Republican congressional seat in Pennsylvania. Walker has said the special elections would be a waste of taxpayer money with the seats coming up for election in the fall.