The people of Wisconsin have said enough is enough.
MADISON, Wis. — Organizers of an effort to kick Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker out of office said Thursday that they have collected nearly enough signatures to force a recall election next year.
The effort organized by the state Democratic Party, organized labor and disgruntled citizens grew out of anger over Walker's polarizing measure passed in March effectively ending collective bargaining rights for public workers.
The United Wisconsin coalition said 507,533 signatures had been collected in 28 days. The deadline to submit the 540,208 signatures needed to force the recall is Jan. 17.
"The people of Wisconsin have said enough is enough," Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate said.
Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks dismissed the signature count.
"We have no doubt the Democrats are rallying their left-wing base around their blatant power grab for the governor's mansion," Sparks said in a statement. He said voters who elected Walker have no desire to return the state to Democratic control.
Circulators are also attempting to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, which requires the same number of signatures. The group did not give an update on how many signatures had been collected against Kleefisch, but it has said in the past the numbers mirror those for Walker.
United Wisconsin said its goal is to collect more than 720,000 signatures by the deadline.
The petitions will be submitted to the Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in Wisconsin and will be charged with reviewing the signatures to ensure there are enough to trigger recall contests.
However, its review will be limited to verifying only that the person who signed listed a Wisconsin address and dated it within the recall period. It's up to challengers to contest the validity of signatures and to ferret out any duplicates.
The accountability board said it plans to ask a court to get an extension for its review from 31 days to 60 days. Challengers have just 10 days under the law to contest signatures, but Walker is also planning to seek a delay.
It's unclear when actual recall elections may take place, but given the likely court challenges, few think they will happen before May.