The GAB has said it's up to challengers to point out problems like those and the board itself cannot automatically toss the signatures for those reasons.Meanwhile, signature-gatherers claim they've got 500,000 signatures (of the 540,208 needed to force an election). But who knows how many are fakes or duplicates? And if there is a recall election, the Democrats must put up an actual candidate to defeat Walker.
The lawsuit says allowing multiple signatures is a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution because it harms the rights of those not signing. ...
[A]ccountability board spokesman Reid Magney said the board was simply following the law and a carrying out a process that would ultimately weed out bad signatures after Walker's campaign called for striking them.
It seems likely that there will be enough signatures submitted. Then, we have to go through the process of challenging bad signatures. If there's a wide margin between what is submitted and what is required, the challenge process won't be such a big deal... unless the proportion of bad signatures appears high in relation to the margin.
Next, we'll have to muck our way through the primaries, with Walker able to play a role attacking these candidates, weakening them before he even faces them. Under state law he can raise and spend as much money as he wants, and he's already spent $2.2 million on advertising. Finally, a candidate will emerge from the battering in the primary and face Walker. Walker, I imagine, will have much more money to spend and he'll be running as an incumbent. Won't he win? By a lot?
And if Walker wins, where will the Democrats be? The Walker administration and the Republican legislature will have a new mandate to pass legislation that they might not have dared to attempt if Walker had only been left alone. If somehow Walker is defeated, the new Democratic Governor will have a Republican legislature to stymie him, so things shouldn't be much different than if Walker had been left alone. I don't see why it's worth it to the Democrats to go for the recall. What is the point... except to emit an inarticulate cry of pain?
And yet people sign the petitions. It makes no sense to me.
ADDED: Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog says that Walker's equal protection argument is "a major... stretch":
Though the complaint does not cite any caselaw supporting the equal protection theory, I suspect that if this goes further the Republicans will rely on Bush v. Gore.If this goes further... suggests that the point of the lawsuit is mainly to cause the GAB to decide to take on the work of checking the signatures.
Looking at the complaint, I see the idea is that the GAB is failing to take even minimal steps to deal with the problem of some people signing petitions more than once and this dilutes the influence of those who do not sign. Every qualified elector in Wisconsin is entitled to one opportunity to choose to sign or not to sign. Everyone who doesn't sign is, essentially, counted once (as signature-gatherers try to reach a number equivalent to a certain proportion of the total voters). Only those who sign have a way to get counted more than once, and when that misbehavior is not stopped, signing weighs more heavily than not signing.
Therefore — the argument goes — the GAB, by failing to exercise its role in a way that catches the multiple signatures, violates equal protection because it is diluting the political clout of one group as opposed to another.
The GAB is putting the burden on Walker to challenge the signature, but its rules give Walker "only 10 days to examine, compare and then challenge more than 540,000 signatures – more than 50,000 signatures a day," which the complaint calls "a practical impossibility."