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Group seeking to recall Speaker Robin Vos launches second effort

From The Journal

After their first attempt appears to have failed due to an apparent lack of valid signatures and allegations of fraud, supporters of former President Donald Trump have launched a second attempt to recall Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Matthew Snorek, a leader of the recall effort, on Wednesday filed paperwork with the Wisconsin Elections Commission indicating his intent to circulate new petitions to recall the long-standing speaker. Snorek created a new recall committee for the effort, and petitions containing signatures will be due no later than May 28.

It remains unclear how the new effort would differ from the first one, which was launched in January by Republicans angry that Vos, R-Rochester, had refused former president Donald Trump’s request to overturn the 2020 presidential election, something the speaker cannot do.

A preliminary review by elections commission staff earlier this month found the group’s first attempt appeared to have fallen short of the required number of signatures needed to force a recall election.

In his statement of intent for the second recall, Snorek wrote that Vos should be recalled for several reasons, including his “lack of commitment to election integrity” and his “flagrant disrespect for his own constituents by calling them ‘whack-jobs, morons and idiots,’” in reference to comments Vos made in Madison last week about the people behind the initial recall attempt.

Vos and Snorek did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The new effort comes amid ongoing questions surrounding Snorek’s first recall petitions, which were handed over to the elections commission earlier this month.

While members of the group said they submitted more than 10,000 signatures, commission staff said a preliminary review found just over 9,000 were potentially valid across multiple legislative districts. The review also found the effort appears to have fallen more than 900 signatures short of the 6,850 needed in Vos’ old district to force an election.

It’s also unclear which legislative boundaries would apply after the Wisconsin Supreme Court in December ruled the state’s previous legislative maps are unconstitutional, barring their use in any subsequent election.

Vos was elected in the 63rd Assembly District, but new maps signed earlier this year by Gov. Tony Evers place Vos in the new 33rd Assembly District. Some of Vos’ previous territory also falls in the new 66th Assembly District

In his challenge, Vos argues a recall can only take place in the new 33rd Assembly District.

New maps signed into law earlier this year don’t go into effect until November, though the elections commission has asked the state’s high court to clarify which boundaries apply to elections held before then.

After Evers requested an additional week to try to reach consensus with all parties in the case on what boundaries should be used, Assistant Attorney General Faye Hipsman wrote in a Thursday court filing the parties couldn’t reach an agreement, but urged the court to use the state’s new maps.

The recall group had until Thursday to respond to Vos’ challenge to the petitions, but instead filed a request in Dane County Circuit Court on Monday seeking an extension to the challenge period, citing “ongoing uncertainties surrounding the legislative district boundaries which are crucial for the analysis of the petition.” A status conference on the matter has been scheduled for Friday.

A Thursday statement from the new recall committee notes that the first recall effort has not been withdrawn and organizers await a court decision on legislative boundaries. The group claims the first effort was “fraught with unexpected challenges” and the new committee will implement “stringent quality control measures.”

Vos claimed in his challenge of the first recall effort that petitions were “plagued with fraud and criminality,” citing forged signatures and missing or incomplete signee information. The Racine County District Attorney’s office is investigating the matter.