Recall efforts under way in Wisconsin

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The poll was held to approve Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s re-election

A Walker recall attempt is under way in Wisconsin.

Mayor Mark Borkowski of Marathon, plus 38 others, are being targeted over any wrongdoing in the lead-up to the vote last month.

Mayor Sheila Barron of the city of Brookfield was the only mayor to lose her re-election bid on 6 August.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had called for the action against 72 sitting elected officials.

A law passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature last year authorizes recall efforts against elected officials who have been involved in “corruption, neglect of duty, or a pattern of misconduct”.

‘Scam and fraud’

Fourteen of the city of Marathon’s 21 elected officials are being targeted. The AP reports that at least 11 of them have said they will appeal the recall votes.

Image copyright AP Image caption They are being targeted over any wrongdoing in the lead-up to the vote last month

The other mayor targeted is Marina Bender of town of Appleton.

“I have not committed any misconduct, I have not committed any failure to act. I have failed to meet my duties in the last six years,” Mayor Borkowski said in a statement.

A group of opponents is calling it a “scam and fraud”.

Republican Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz suggested that people convicted of voter fraud could be fired and their permits to vote suspended.

“While the term ‘recall’ itself is vague and has no clear legal meaning, it is clear that it attempts to impose illegal limitations on people’s fundamental rights, such as exercising their right to vote,” Hintz said.

‘Crucial safety vote’

Mayor Barron said the recall was “the first critical opportunity in my 20 years of experience in local public service to make sure that voters in our community are not deceived by an attempt to disenfranchise them.”

She said that the move was “ultimately a slap in the face” to the 741 people who voted for her in the 7 August election.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Mayor Barron has said she will appeal the recall vote

“Voters have a right to know the facts of how I ran Brookfield City Hall with openness and transparency,” she said.

“People were clear in their message to me that their privacy and freedom of choice are too important to be sacrificed to hold a political test vote.”

Five of the 39 recall ballots were against the mayor who lost his re-election bid, and the other 26 mayor-challengers will now all serve out their terms.

The petition for the recall initiative listed just 83 officials, although after a Janesville mayor chose to resign, 26 others were added to the list.

Governor Walker hopes to ensure that no one in his state faces another recall vote.

It came just over a year after Wisconsin lawmakers passed a law that curbed the power of the state’s unions, a move that was highly controversial and led to mass protests.

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