After 60 days of fanning out petitions across the state, United Wisconsin, the group organizing the recall effort for Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, will turn in their gathered signatures to the Government Accountability Board of Wisconsin on Tuesday afternoon, at 3 p.m.
Though the group has yet to release a final signature count — that number will not be released until they turn in the signatures United Wisconsin spokeswoman Meagan Mahaffey tells ABC News — it is widely expected that they will hand-in well over the 540,208 names required to hold a recall election.
In mid-December, 30 days into the 60 days allotted for gathering signatures, United Wisconsin announced that they had already collected 507,533 names. They are aiming to gather over 700,000, as some names are likely to be thrown out during the verification process.
“Tomorrow is going to be a great for us,” Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin told ABC News. “We’re going to hand in a number that we believe will be well beyond any potential challenge from Scott Walker’s campaign. We’re going to be working hard to make sure that the many numbers of people who signed these petitions are heard and that we have an election.”
After the signatures are turned in the Government Accountability Board will have 60 days to verify the signatures, though they have requested additional time. Should the GAB verify that United Wisconsin did submit the 540,208 necessary names, Democrats will have six weeks to hold a primary, followed by an additional four weeks until a general election against Gov. Walker would take place.
With these time stipulations in mind, the earliest a recall election would occur is late May 2012. The timing could be pushed back however, should the board be granted additional time to process signatures, or should any lawsuits be filed on either parties behalf.
The Republican party of Wisconsin has been firmly dismissive of the efforts against Governor Walker, particularly citing the cost to Wisconsin taxpayers should a recall election go forward.
“We have no doubt the Democrats were able to rally their left-wing base around this baseless and expensive recall effort,” writes Ben Sparks, spokesperson for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. “This shameful recall of the governor will accomplish nothing but saddle Wisconsin taxpayers with over $9 million in un-budgeted costs. Voters rejected the Democrats’ era of job loss and deficit spending in 2010, and they’ll do it again in 2012.”
There are several established Wisconsin Democrats who have been cited as possible gubernatorial candidates to challenge Walker should the recall go forward; the list includes former Congressman Dave Obey and Congressman Ron Kind.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin tells ABC News that they will not endorse any potential challengers until after a primary election.
UPDATE: On Tuesday afternoon United Wisconsin announced that they submitted over 1 million signatures to the Government Accountability Board. The GAB will now be tasked with verifying the list of names.