Wisconsin Elections Commission
Press Release

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Recall of Congressional, County, and State Officials


By - May 28th, 2024 04:15 pm

On Tuesday, May 28, the Wisconsin Elections Commission accepted a second recall petition filed against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

To assist reporters inquiring about the recall process for congressional, county, and state officials, the Commission has compiled answers to the frequently asked questions below. In addition to this resource, we recommend you consult the Commission’s recall manuals, available at the following link: https://elections.wi.gov/resources/manuals/recall-manuals

If you have more questions, please email electionspio@wisconsin.gov

Due to the impending nomination paper review and ballot access processes for upcoming 2024 elections, Commissioners have not yet scheduled a meeting to determine the sufficiency of the second recall petition filed against Representative Vos. Wisconsin law requires the Commission to determine the sufficiency of the petition within 31 days of it being offered for filing. That date, in this case, is Friday, June 28.

What is the deadline for filing a recall petition?

The completed petition must be filed no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 60th day after a recall registration statement is filed.

The second recall registration statement was submitted on March 27. Because the 60th day fell on a Sunday and the following day was a legal holiday, under Wis. Stat. § 990.001(4)(B), the second petition to recall Rep. Robin Vos needed to be filed no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28.

Does state law prohibit the filing of another recall petition against the same candidate if the first petition fails?

No. Wis. Stat. § 9.10(6) provides, “After one recall petition and recall election, no further recall petition may be filed against the same official during the term for which he or she was elected.” This indicates that more than one petition may be filed if a previous petition(s) were not found to be sufficient, but the elected official cannot be subjected to a second petition and recall election if a prior petition was sufficient and resulted in a recall election being called. This prohibition on a second recall election is limited to the same term of office the recall election applied to.

How can I access a copy of the recall petition and signatures?

A copy of the filed petition and signatures will be made available for download at https://badgervoters.wi.gov/, a website maintained by the WEC. If you haven’t already, you will need to create an account to download the materials.

A self-service request should be started by clicking the New Request option. The default setting is for voter data. Select the Nomination Data tab to bring up the nomination data filters and options. Once there, select the “2024 Robin Vos Recall Petition filed 5/28/24” from the election dropdown. The petition will be listed under the Candidate Name filter. Once a selection has been made, click the Create Nomination Data Request to review the criteria and then Submit Request to complete. The file will be immediately available for download on your Request History page.

How many signatures are needed to successfully petition for a recall election of a state representative?

The petition must contain the signatures of qualified electors equal to at least 25% of the vote cast for the office of Governor at the last General Election within the same district or territory as that of the officeholder, per Wis. Stat. § 9.10(1)(b). In Assembly District 63, at least 6,850 signatures would be required (See Billie Johnson et al. v. Wisconsin Elections Commission). For Assembly District 33, as enacted under 2023 Wisconsin Act 94, at least 7,195 signatures would be required.

The Commission has not determined which district should apply.

Where can I find the number of votes cast for governor, by jurisdiction, in the last General Election?

The 2022 General Election Results available on the WEC’s election results page (https://elections.wi.gov/elections/election-results) contains the following file that details the gubernatorial election results by congressional, state Assembly, and state Senate district: “2022 Governor by reporting unit with Congressional, State Senate, Assembly district.xlsx”.

Where are the rules for recall petitions outlined?

The statutory provisions for recalling state, county, congressional, legislative, and judicial elected officials are provided in Wis. Stat. § 9.10 and Wis. Admin. Code Ch. EL 2.

Does the Wisconsin Elections Commission have further rules or precedent about how to carry out the recall process? 

Please refer to the WEC’s recall manuals and Wisconsin administrative code, mentioned above.

Who determines whether recall petition signatures are accepted?

The six members of the bipartisan Commission make the determination on whether the recall petition is sufficient.

Can someone challenge a recall petition?

Yes. Within 10 days after a recall petition is offered for filing with the appropriate filing officer, the officeholder can challenge the sufficiency of the recall petition. The challenge must be made in the form of a written, sworn complaint and filed with the filing officer who received the recall petition. Wis. Stat. § 9.10(3)(b). and Wis Admin. Code Ch. EL 2.

Once a recall petition is filed, the WEC will post images of the petition signatures online at our badgervoters.wi.gov website for public viewing, free of charge.

If a recall petition is sufficient, who orders the recall election?

The WEC would call any potential recall elections for state and federal offices.

If a recall petition is sufficient, when would the recall election and primary (if necessary) take place?

The recall election would be held on the Tuesday of the sixth week commencing after the date on which the certificate of sufficiency is filed.

If more than two people from the same political party compete for the office, a recall primary will be held on the date originally set for the recall election. The recall election will then be held on the Tuesday of the fourth week after the recall primary. The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes for each political party in the recall primary will be certified to appear on the ballot in the recall election.

What does the timeline for the recall process look like once a recall petition is filed?

The filing officer is required to determine the sufficiency of the petition within 31 days after the petition is filed, and after the conclusion of any challenge. Wis. Stat. § 9.10(3)(b).

Can the Commission’s determination of the recall petition’s sufficiency or insufficiency be appealed?

Within seven days after an official determines the sufficiency or insufficiency of a recall petition, the petitioner or the officer against whom the recall petition is filed may file a writ of mandamus or prohibition with the circuit court for the county where the recall petition was filed.

Is there a maximum amount of recall signatures that the petitioner is allowed to file?


How often do recalls happen?

The Wisconsin Historical Society has provided a brief history of Wisconsin recalls, available at this link: https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Article/CS2581

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

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