Lawsuit Challenges Decision Not to Fill Legislative Vacancies

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 | by Andrew Beckett l WRN |

(WRN) A national Democratic group has filed a lawsuit challenging Governor Scott Walker’s decision to leave two legislative seats empty until the November election.

The vacancies in the 1st Senate District and 42nd Assembly District were created after the Republicans that held them resigned in late 2017 to take jobs with the Walker administration. The governor has argued special elections can’t be held fast enough to fill them before the current legislative session ends. Walker has also argued that current law supports waiting until the November elections, since former state Senator Frank Lasee and former state Representative Keith Ripp resigned before the end of 2017.

A lawsuit filed Monday in Dane County by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee argues leaving those seats empty for more than a year violates the rights of people living in those districts. The group, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, says the governor should move to fill the vacancies as promptly as possible.

“Forcing citizens to go more than a year without representation in the General Assembly is a plain violation of their rights and we’re hopeful the court will act quickly to order the governor to hold elections,” Holder said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Governor Walker noted that voters are already heading to the polls in November to elect new representatives. “This D.C.-based special interest group wants to force Wisconsin taxpayers to waste money,” said spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg.

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