During his two terms as a state representative, Terry Moulton faced an election every two years.
Another election for Moulton might be just around the corner, even though he’s less than one year into a four-year term as a state senator.
By one calculation, it will take nearly 15,000 signatures to trigger a recall election of Moulton, one of three freshmen Republican senators being targeted for a recall for his votes in support of Gov. Scott Walker’s agenda.
Walker, too, faces a recall after being elected to a four-year term on Nov. 2, 2010 and taking office in January 2011.
People behind the recalls are understandably angry over measures taken by Walker and the Republicans, primarily the stripping of bargaining rights of most public employees.
There is plenty to find fault with this year in the way the state’s GOP leaders have gone about their business. The hamfisted methods they used to steamroll their agenda should be a source of vigorous political debate. For that, the people raising the issues should be thanked.
But recall elections aren’t the way to go, as past Herald editorials have said repeatedly. Recall elections should be reserved for use only in cases of grievous misconduct of public officials.
For example, we opposed recalling then-State Rep. Jeff Wood after his series of run-ins with the law over his use of drugs and driving.
We said the same when the state went through several recalls of legislators earlier this year, elections that cost taxpayers $2.1 million according to the
Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. That was money better spent on education or providing shelter to the state’s homeless, or a myriad of other uses.
Then there’s next year’s political calendar.
A February primary is a possibility with a seat to be filled on the Third District Court of Appeals. That will be followed by the presidential preference election in April, which will also field local races and all of the Chippewa County Board seats.
The normal September election will likely be moved to the second Tuesday in August, when Assembly races will be sorted out. Then there will be the presidential election in November, with other races on the ballot, too.
That’s potentially four elections already. There is no guarantee that a Walker or a Moulton recall election will be tied to any of them, nor any sham recall primaries that would be needed because they are stocked with “fake” Republicans or Democrats.
A recall Walker election and one for Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch could happen in May or June, according to GAB official Reid Magney. It all depends on when the paperwork is filed and reviewed by the state.
So six separate election dates during 2012 aren’t out of the question.
But besides the cost of putting on an election throughout the year, there’s this simple concept: People who are elected should be allowed to do their jobs. There already exists a method to register your disapproval of a politician, and that is the next election.
Voters elected Walker and Moulton to do work on their behalf for four years. At the end of that time, voters can throw them out of office if that’s what they want. But constantly holding elections for a public that is already fed up with politics is the wrong way to go.