Despite Privacy Concerns, Recall Petitions Now Online

2/1/12 – The recall petitions against Governor Scott Walker are now on-line. The Government Accountability Board put all of the estimated one-million signatures on its Web site last night, after a number of people asked that their names not be posted due to privacy concerns. But Board director Kevin Kennedy says no expectation of privacy is justified or implied when somebody chooses to sign a public recall petition. He also cited a recent U-S Supreme Court decision which ordered Washington State to release petitions for a referendum. The Walker petitions were expected to be posted Monday. But the Accountability Board held them back for a day to weigh the privacy concerns against the public interest – which is the required balancing test under the Open Records Law. Kennedy said the balancing test favored disclosure of the entire petitions with nothing blacked out – even when signers feared that previous abusers would seek them out if they saw their victims’ addresses in the petitions. The Accountability Board took heat for holding the petitions back. State Attorney General J-B Van Hollen said the petitions should be distributed as widely as possible, and he had attorneys meet with elections’ officials on the issue yesterday. You’ll find the petitions at GAB-Dot-WI-Dot-Gov. The state Republican Party and the Walker campaign have been reviewing the petitions, looking for false and duplicate signatures. The board has until March 19th to validate the petitions.