Organizers of recall targeting a top Wisconsin Republican appeal to court

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Organizers of the effort to recall a top Wisconsin Republican have appealed the bipartisan state elections commission's rejection of their petitions in court.

Recall organizers filed their appeal in Dane County Circuit Court on Friday, a week after their effort to recall Assembly Speaker Robin Vos effort failed due to officials determining that not enough valid signatures were collected.

It will now be up to the court to decide whether organizers submitted enough valid signatures on time to force a recall election. If successful, Vos would only be removed from office for the remainder of the calendar year. He is running for another two-year term that would begin in January if he wins the November election.

The elections commission determined that signatures collected beyond the 60-day circulation window should not count. The filing deadline was extended by two days due to the Memorial Day holiday, but the commission said that deadline for collecting signatures was not also extended.

It rejected 188 signatures collected over those two days, leaving recall organizers short of the total needed to force a recall election.

Recall organizers argued in their appeal that the commission “fundamentally erred” in its finding. The expansion of the time for filing includes an expansion of the time to collect signatures, they argued in their appeal.

Vos, who has derided recall organizers as “whack jobs and morons,” did not return a message seeking comment Monday.

If the court agrees that there should be a recall election, a candidate would have to come forward to challenge Vos. The election would then decide whether Vos would remain for the rest of the year or be replaced.

Recall organizer Matthew Snorek has defended moving ahead with the recall, despite Vos being near the end of his term, saying it will send a message.

Recall organizers targeted Vos, the longest-serving Assembly speaker in Wisconsin history, after he refused calls to decertify President Joe Biden’s narrow win over former President Donald Trump in the state. Biden’s win of about 21,000 votes has withstood two partial recounts, lawsuits, an independent audit and a review by a conservative law firm.

Vos further angered Trump supporters when he did not back a plan to impeach Meagan Wolfe, the state’s top elections official.