It looks like the movement to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has big mo, and the Governor is leveraging his powers to suppress a key constituency — young voters, as John Nichols explains in his Nation post, “As Wisconsin Governor’s Poll Numbers Tank, GOP Moves to ‘Rig’ Recall“:
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s support has collapsed, according to a new poll that shows that 58 percent of voters favor recalling the Republican whose anti-labor initiatives provoked the mass demonstrations that anticipated the Occupy Wall Street movement.
According to a new St. Norbert College/Wisconsin Public Radio survey of Wisconsin voters, only 38 percent of voters now support retaining Walker as governor. That represents a ten-point drop in support for the governor since last spring, when it was presumed that he had bottomed out. In fact, they have continued to decline, with significant movement of previously undecided voters into the anti-Walker camp. Thirty-seven percent of Wisconsinites now “strongly disapprove” of Walker’s governorship, while 21 percent merely disapprove. Among the most engaged (and presumably likely) voters, the figure rises to a remarkable 61 percent overall disapproval number for the governor. Significantly, while attitudes toward President Obama and the state’s Republican senator, Ron Johnson, have remained relatively steady, Walker’s numbers have tanked. That’s a serious problem for the governor, as it suggests that voters are crossing partisan and even ideological lines to oppose him.
Nichols reports that The Republican-controlled Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules has ordered Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, which oversees state elections, to subject proposed voting-rights rules to a process that gives Governor Walker and Republican legislative leaders authority to reject rule changes. This gives Walker the power to interfere with the recall election by making decisions about student i.d.’s, address verification and electronic circulation of recall documents.
Nichols quotes Rep. Mark Pocan a Democrat from Madison, “Republicans are trying to make it harder for students to vote and they should be ashamed of themselves…Today, Republicans sent a strong signal that Scott Walker wants the fairest election he can rig.”
Other Republican-sponsored voter suppression initiatives were already underway in Wisconsin, and Nichols notes the irony that Walker was first elected in 2002 as a Milwaukee County executive, as part of a recall campaign. Now he is fighting to survive one as the nation’s poster-boy union-basher, pitted against a rapidly-growing coalition of the working people of Wisconsin.