The Wisconsin Elections Commission unanimously signed off on a proposal reaffirming state law governing the distribution of nomination papers.
But the move could invalidate nearly a month’s worth of signatures on nomination papers if Gov. Tony Evers issues a new order to set the date for the 7th CD special election.
This comes as the Evers administration scrambles to reschedule a special election to replace former northern GOP U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy. Evers in September called the election for Jan. 27, but was forced to reschedule after that date ran afoul of federal law relating to the distribution period for absentee ballots.
In a teleconference yesterday evening, WEC commissioners approved a staff-recommended motion reaffirming signatures on the nomination forms have to be dated on or after the starting date for circulation, which under state law is “no sooner than the day the order for the special election is filed.”
The original start date was Sept. 23, the day Evers initially called for the 7th CD special election by executive order. But if he issues a new order to reschedule the election, that would change the start date for nomination paper circulation and render all signatures collected so far invalid.
Commission staff said Evers might be able to amend the original order, leaving the Sept. 23 start date intact. The motion approved by commissioners included a segment reaffirming signatures collected on or after Sept. 23 would be valid in that case.
An Evers spokeswoman told WisPolitics.com the guv’s office was aware of the issue but could not comment on if the guv planned to issue a new order or amend his original directive.
The motion also allowed for nomination papers indicating a Jan. 27 election date to be valid.
Evers told reporters yesterday he would he will announce a new special election date “very soon.”