With Voter ID having passed the Wisconsin Senate today (May 19, 2011) (gosh, will Governor Patsy sign it? I wonder!), one might wonder what is the next front in the Republicans' assault on democracy. I think I've figured it out:
Out-of-state special interests were able to gin up recalls of three Democratic senators in Wisconsin -- in part by forging the signatures of Democrats' dead relatives on the petitions -- and those recalls were originally going to be scheduled at the same time as the recall elections for the 6 Republicans who face votes.
But now, it turns out that far too many Republicans are interested in running to let that happen -- and the three Democratic senators' recalls elections face likely primaries.
Several smart people -- notably @danpotacke and @legaleagle thought that the primaries might be to use the other recalls as a sort of slingshot: take Democratic gains in the first 6, and use them to spur voters to the polls for the last 3 recalls.
But I think it's something more: I think it's the Republicans' plan to try to wear down Democratic voters, who will have to get to the polls to support the Democrats who run in the first 6 races, only to then turn around and have to go back to the polls not much later to vote in favor of the remaining 3 Democrats who face recalls. And then, about three months later, the Democrats would have to start the much-talked-about Governor "Patsy" Walker recalls.
That's a lot of voting, and if there's one thing Republicans hate, it's a lot of voting -- so can their plan be to hope that the momentum dies down, that people get fatigued and move on? Elections on off-years and in the spring tend to result in lower turnout already -- and having a repeated series of elections may be intended to depress votes more.
Or, could the plan be even more simple: take advantage of the lack of fundraising limits that apply in recall elections, and raise big money for the "group organizing the recalls." As noted by Fox 11 (among other sources):
Once a recall effort begins, the financial floodgates open wide for both the group organizing the recall and the politician being targeted. Normally, in a state senate race, candidates can only receive $1,000 from each person or political action committee. Candidates can only get $22,425 total from special interest groups and political parties.
Committees to recall Democratic Senators have thus far lagged behind in fundraising compared to the committees recalling Republicans -- so extending the deadline for the recall allows for a longer fundraising period -- possibly one that'll help the state Republican party recoup the $150,000 it's spent supporting recalls so far.