It's probably safe to say "Mickey Mouse" and "Adolf Hitler" aren't Wisconsin voters, but their names will nevertheless be counted on petitions to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker if they are properly dated and have valid addresses, a state board ruled Tuesday.
While the Government Accountability Board will note suspicious signatures, they'll be accepted as long as they're accompanied by a Wisconsin address and are dated within the circulation period, WISN-TV reported. The G.A.B. reviews petitions before a recall election can proceed.
"We will flag them, but we will not strike them without challenge," board elections specialist David Buerger told the station. He noted that in past recall elections, the name "Adolf Hitler" was removed because the accompanying address was in Germany.
Instead, it's up to the officeholder up for recall to identify duplicate or otherwise improper signatures when they review the petitions, and request that the board strike them. According to WISN, that puts Walker at a disadvantage because he can't see the signatures until after they're submitted, while organizers can remove problematic ones before turning the petitions in.
In response to the board's ruling, Walker and the state Republican Party announced an effort to verify signatures, soliciting citizens who want to volunteer to check names.
The effort to recall Walker from office kicked off last month. United Wisconsin, the coalition behind the drive, needs to collect 540,208 signatures by Jan. 17 in order to force a recall election sometime in 2012. The group claimed to have collected more than half of the required signatures in just 12 days, but has not provided any updates since.