Dane County Judge Orders Walker to Schedule Special Elections For Vacant Seats

Mar 27, 2018

Update: A Dane County judge Tuesday denied Gov. Walker’s request for a one week delay in having to call special elections for two vacant legislative seats. It means Walker has until Thursday to order the elections.

Meanwhile, the state Legislature is scheduled to vote on a bill next week that would change the law regarding special elections in Wisconsin.  

The bill would remove the requirement for governors to call special elections for vacant legislative seats “as promptly as possible.”  A state Senate committee is set to hold a public hearing on the bill on Wednesday.

The Wisconsin Justice Department, which is representing Walker, wanted the one-week delay, to give the legislature time to act on the bill.

Original Post, March 22, 2018:

A judge in Dane County Thursday ordered Gov. Scott Walker to call special elections for two vacated legislative seats.  The ruling follows arguments in a lawsuit brought by a group led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. 

Republican Sen. Frank Lasee of De Pere and Republican state Rep. Keith Ripp of Lodi resigned in December to take jobs in the Walker Administration. Walker scheduled the elections to replace the two men for fall, saying he wanted to save taxpayer money.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's group, the National Redistricting Foundation, sued -- citing a Wisconsin law that requires special elections held as soon as possible. 

Attorneys for the group argued in court Thursday on behalf of some Democrats who live in the two districts -- calling Walker's refusal a "textbook" case of voter disenfranchisement.

The Walker administration countered that it had no legal obligation to order the special elections. 

Judge Josann Reynolds rejected Walker's arguments and ordered the governor to schedule special elections for the two seats within a week.