Walker Recall Organizers Hope Madison Rally Continues Signature Momentum
United Wisconsin says about 50,000 signatures — just less than 10 percent of the 60-day goal — were collected in the first 48 hours.
With the recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker in full swing, organizers say they have already collected 50,000 petition signatures in the first 48 hours.
United Wisconsin, a coalition of grassroots organizations throughout the state and the organization spearheading the recall effort, also claims 20,000 people have downloaded petitions from recall websites.
Democrats say the surge of signatures sends a clear message that the state is taking a stand against Walker.
"The enthusiasm is palpable," said Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Graeme Zielinski.
"It shows the people are holding Governor Walker accountable, finally. It’s a cry of enough, from the people of Wisconsin. People are tired of the lies. This isn't hard to figure out. I mean, you can't go anywhere in Wisconsin without seeing a Recall Walker bumper sticker," he said.
Ben Sparks, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, called the news an attempt by Democrats to create false momentum in their never-ending effort to score political points.
"Wisconsin families are only interested in moving our state forward," Sparks said in an e-mail Friday.
The effort, sparked by the controversial measure known as Act 10, which curtails collective-bargaining rights of most state public workers, kicked off with a bang Tuesday with a number of events across the state and a large-scale protest in Walker’s Wauwatosa neighborhood, which drew more than 1,000 people.
Organizers have about 60 days from Tuesday to gather the 540,000 signatures needed to force a recall election.
"We have collected signatures from all 72 counties in Wisconsin. We are looking good," Zielinski said. "But until we get that number, we aren't going to rest."
When asked if the numbers were a reflection of the energy and excitement in the first week of the effort, Zielinski said the people of Wisconsin are motivated when they look at the way Walker has hurt the state.
"The numbers are just a drop in the bucket," he said.
With hopes the surge continues, organizers plan to conjure up more support and signatures with a rally in Madison on Saturday.
“We are going to have a rally with United Wisconsin, We Are Wisconsin and our 70 other grassroots groups on the steps of the Capitol ... to show them what democracy looks like," Zielinksi said.
A pre-rally starts at 11 a.m. Shuttle buses will be offered to transport recall supporters between the Alliant Energy Center/Exhibition Center in Madison and the Capitol Square from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition, Democrats have plans for hundreds of events over the course of the recall effort including potlucks, pajama parties and bowling outings throughout the state.
With a couple months to go before petitions are filed and potential recall elections are set, state officials released fiscal estimates on the cost of the elections.
Recall attempts of Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four state Republican lawmakers is estimated to cost an extra $652,699, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, though the fiscal impact to local municipalities isn’t clear yet. Recall elections held earlier this year for nine state senators cost state and local taxpayers $2.1 million, according to the state Government Accountability Board.