by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director
March 23, 2018
Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald, and Robin Vos have no respect for democracy or representative government.
They are drunk with their power, and they’ll do anything to hold on to it.
Their arrogant disregard for democracy has never been more on display than on the issue of special elections.
First, Walker blatantly violated Wisconsin law by not calling special elections promptly, as required, to fill the vacant Assembly seat in District 42 and the vacant Senate seat in District 1.
Then, after a judge that Walker himself appointed ruled last week that Walker had to call these elections promptly, he not only did not do so; he joined with Majority Leader Fitzgerald and Speaker Vos in pushing to change the law so he doesn’t have to abide by the judge’s ruling.
Walker, Fitzgerald, and Vos made two bad arguments.
First, they said that it’s so late in the game that the newly elected legislators would have nothing to legislate on. But Walker was making this argument for months now, and if he had called a special election when he was supposed to, the new legislators would have been able to represent their constituents during the special sessions Walker called on welfare reform and on school safety. Now, the irony is that constituents in Assembly District 42 and Senate District 1 will be underrepresented on the very issue of filling their seats!
The second bad argument of Walker, Fitzgerald, and Vos is that the special election would be a waste of taxpayer dollars, since it’d be close to the November election. Again, it wouldn’t have been close if Walker had called the election when he should have. And if “waste of taxpayer dollars” is going to be the excuse to curtail democracy, hell, why not extend legislative terms for a decade instead of two years and four years?
No matter how you slice it, Walker, Fitzgerald, and Vos are putting a low price tag on democracy.
Their assault on our democracy should offend voters all across the ideological spectrum.
As Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling so aptly put it, “Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans are so desperate to maintain their grip on power that they are changing laws to silence voters. The Republican-led efforts to prevent court-ordered special elections from being held is the height of corruption and the public should not accept this abuse of power.”