Judge denies extending deadline for WI special elections

Published: Mar. 27, 2018 at 4:40 PM CDT
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A Dane County judge has denied Governor Scott Walker's request to extend the deadline for special elections to fill two vacant seats in the state Legislature.

Circuit Court Judge Richard Niess made the ruling late Tuesday afternoon, and Walker has until Thursday to order the special elections.

Walker's attorneys argued the Legislature plans to vote next week on a bill changing the special elections law. Under the proposed measure, Walker would not be allowed to order special elections this year. A public hearing was scheduled for Wednesday in a state Senate committee.

Senate Democrats tried debuting their own bill on special elections months ago. The bill never made it to a vote.

"Those voters and those districts have a right to be represented. Because they haven't had representation in a timely fashion, they will going on over a year without representation," Senator Jennifer Schilling (D- La Crosse) said.

Niess said there is no legitimate argument for a delay and said an earlier ruling was spot on. Last week, Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds gave Walker until Thursday to issue an order calling for special elections.

In a statement from Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, he said:

"This bill and amendment simply clarify the timelines for elections when they are called and sets a date after which the regular election will be used to fill a vacancy. This eliminates the need for multiple elections in a short timeline, saving taxpayer dollars and avoiding voter confusion."

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