MADISON -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won't challenge any of the 1 million signatures submitted on petitions seeking his recall from office because his campaign staff ran out of time to go through them all, a top aide said Monday.
Walker had until 5 p.m. Monday to file any challenges. Campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said the campaign simply didn't have enough time to study all the signatures. Officials say 30 days simply wasn't enough time to comb through 152,000 pages. But that's not to say they believe all of the signatures are legitimate.
"There are so many ways that a signature could be invalid, that to go through 152,000 pages in just 30 days really was an impossible task," said Matthews.
Thousands of volunteers reviewed about 400,000 petitions. They reportedly found an error rate of 10%-20%.
While the Walker campaign did not submit a single challenge, it did turn in a four-page document asking the GAB to consider the work of Tea Party groups which did a more thorough review.
In January, Democrats and their allies submitted nearly double the 540,208 signatures needed to force a recall election against the polarizing Republican governor. The Government Accountability Board, which oversees Wisconsin elections, has been working to verify the signatures and has until March 19 to rule whether enough are valid to trigger an election.
Democrats turned in the signatures on Jan.17.
"The claim that he didn't have enough time is laughable," said Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate. "There's 13,000 volunteers that they bragged about $10 million in recall funding that's supposed to be spent solely on the defense of his recall and he can't count enough signatures? That's a ludicrous proposition."
Walker's campaign did file legal documents at the GAB, asking the GAB to follow Judge Mac Davis' ruling that the GAB actively seek out duplicates and fake names. But that order was vacated on appeal.
The law requires the GAB to do a "facial review" -- essentially making sure the paperwork is filled out correctly. But GAB authorities say they will look for duplicates and fakes.
"We've always been looking for fake names, the duplicate is something Judge Davis ordered us to do," said GAB representative Reid Magney. "We are in the process of having all of those petitions hand entered into a database by a firm down in Janesville, that allows us to look for duplicates and strike duplicates and we will be doing that as part of our process."