Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will not challenge any of the signatures filed against him, saying his campaign does not have enough time to review the more than 150,000 pages filed seeking his recall.
Walker faced a deadline today to file challenges after a Dane County judge granted him a 20-day extension beyond the 10 days allotted under state law. Walker also sought an additional two weeks but was turned down.
"We faced an impossible timeline," Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews told WisPolitics.com, a media partner of BizTimes.
Matthews declined comment when asked if the campaign would appeal the ruling denying additional time beyond the original extension.
She said the campaign will rely on the Government Accountability Board (GAB) to strike fraudulent signatures instead of filing any challenges.
Matthews said recall organizers were given 60 days to collect signatures, twice the time the campaign was given to review them.
"It obviously takes more time to verify signatures than it does to collect them," she said.
The campaign planned to release a statement this afternoon about its decision.
"We expect that because we have not been given sufficient time to verify the signatures, the Government Accountability Board will adhere to Judge Mac Davis' ruling, as they have publicly committed, and will continue to take affirmative steps to remove duplicate, invalid or fraudulent signatures in order to maintain integrity and fairness in the process," Matthews said.
In addition to the official effort by the Friends of Scott Walker campaign, in conjunction with the Republican Party of Wisconsin, a third party effort – Verify the Recall – also has been attempting to validate signatures via both visual and electronic inspections.
Matthews noted that between both efforts, more than 20,000 people have worked on inspections.
"Despite these massive efforts, the time to challenge hundreds of thousands of signatures was simply unavailable," Matthews said.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin has cited examples including addresses of signers turning up as vacant lots and the unquestionably fraudulent signatures of Donald Duck appearing on petitions, Matthews said.
Walker's deciison not to challenge the signatures likely sets the stage for a recall election to be held as early as May.