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Recall to action: Reedsburg group says it has 2,700 signatures

Recall to action: Reedsburg group says it has 2,700 signatures

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Reedsburg volunteers collected about 2,700 signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker over the last two months.

The recall effort was launched Nov. 15. The Republican governor drew numerous protests last spring after pushing for rules that curtailed government workers' ability to engage in collective bargaining.

Organizer Bill Waser of Reedsburg said that his 109 volunteers collected 2,720 signatures between Nov. 15 and Friday morning, far surpassing the goal of 32 percent of the people in Reedsburg who voted in the gubernatorial race in 2010.

"People came out of the woodwork," Waser said. "2,098 people voted in the governor's race total in Reedsburg, so we've far surpassed our goal."

The effort collected most of its signatures in the first and last weeks of the recall. The group collected 1,012 signatures in the first week and 462 between Tuesday and Friday.

Democratic Party of Sauk County chairwoman Judy Spring said she had about 200 volunteers in Sauk Prairie, Reedsburg and Baraboo collecting signatures.

Spring said signature gatherers are closing in on the 540,208 valid signatures they need statewide to force Walker onto a recall ballot. Spring said volunteers won't stop taking signatures until Tuesday when the signatures are due.

Waser said his group essentially stopped collecting signatures Friday, although a few petitions with one or two names still are trickling in and will be submitted before the Tuesday deadline.

Waser said that while he wasn't surprised at the number of signatures collected, he was surprised at the number of people who told him they had voted for Walker in the 2010 election but now backed the recall.

"You'd be amazed at the number of people who came in and told us they voted for him and now want him out," Waser said.

Although the volunteers did create some controversy within the city when they gained permission from the Parks and Recreation Committee to use the city recreation center to collect signatures, Waser said that for the most part, everyone was civil to him and his volunteers.

"We had someone turn around our sign giving directions to the recall once, and some people had yard signs stolen," Waser said. "But overall, I'd say 98 to 99 percent of people were civil to us."

Spring said conditions weren't always as respectful for volunteers in other parts of Sauk County.

"Sometimes it did get bad for some of them who were out taking names," Spring said. "They were called names and sometimes people cursed at them. But our volunteers remained calm and continued to collect signatures."

Republican Party of Sauk County chairman Tim McCumber said he has taken numerous calls from people who want to help check the names collected.

"Right now, we can't do anything," he said. "We're in a holding pattern, but we're seeing a lot of our members and new faces who want to review the names on the recall petitions and check for any fictitious names and verify signatures that have been collected."

Waser said he believed there was only one name out of the 2,720 his volunteers collected that might be invalid.

"We didn't have any Mickey Mouses or Minnie Mouses or Scott Walkers," Waser said.

The statewide recall election against Walker could cost $9 million or more, according to the state Government Accountability Board.

The director of the GAB, who will handle the review, said Thursday it will take more than the 60 days it originally planned to look for obvious fake and duplicate signatures.





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