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Recall petition changes considered

Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board will consider a plan Monday that would let people print off personalized recall petitions at home, reducing the need for a traditional door-to-door signature drive.

Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board will consider a plan Monday that would let people print off personalized recall petitions at home, reducing the need for a traditional door-to-door signature drive.

The recall petitions circulated for this summer's special Senate elections were gathered the old fashioned way -- circulators set up tables and knocked on doors. Typically there were ten peoples' addresses and signatures on each page.

A proposal by Patrick Williams of Milwaukee would set up another option -- a single, standardized recall petition page that people could print and sign at home. Williams says it would update what he calls an antiquated process.

"If you are interested in recalling a candidate in the state of Wisconsin, it seems to me odd that you should have to rely on a person coming to your door or that you should have to get in your car and drive to a place where signatures are being collected," he says.

Williams runs Wisconsinrecall.net, and wants to use a system like this to recall Gov. Scott Walker. He says people could visit sites like his, enter their personal information and then get e-mailed personalized forms once a recall process was underway. The forms would be mailed or dropped off with recall organizers. Williams says it would make recalls easier for both political parties.

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"Is that good in and of itself? Well, if you believe recalls are good then I suppose it is," he says. "But what it does do is it obviates the need to field a large staff of volunteers to go out and collect these signatures."

The Government Accountability Board's staff is recommending Williams' proposal, saying there's nothing in state law that prohibits it. The board itself makes the final call.

Recalling the governor would require more than 540,000 signatures. Board staff says it would need more storage space if all those signatures came in on their own sheets of paper.

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