Efforts begun in late August to recall Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes have met with encouraging results, according to Burlington area petition organizer Misty R. Polewczynski.
“We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘This is a force to be reckoned with,’” she said. “Well, this recall movement truly is. The effort to recall Gov. Evers and Lt. Gov. Barnes has grown by leaps and bounds since its filing. We are at 275,000 valid signatures accounted for – right on track to exceed the needed amount.”
Polewczynski is being backed in her efforts by a growing cadre of petition-circulating volunteers across Wisconsin.
“The ‘Recall Evers Petition’ Facebook page has 74,487 members … and is growing daily,” she said. “Each member is passionate and motivated about their mission. Word of both recalls is echoing throughout Wisconsin and the goal of this movement is to have signing events in every town, village and city.”
The recall petition
Polewczynski, who lives in Walworth County just west of the Racine County line in Spring Prairie, filed the required paperwork with the Wisconsin Election Commission on Aug. 27 to launch her “Recall Tony Evers” and “Recall Mandela Barnes” petition drives in the wake of the riots and violence in Kenosha and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In her Aug. 27 Statement of Intent to Circulate Recall Petition filings, Polewczynski called both Evers and Barnes “unfit for office,” citing their “gross negligence.”
Polewczynski has 60 days from filing – until Oct. 27 – to collect and successfully submit 668,327 valid signatures for each of the recall petitions for them to advance to statewide ballot. The threshold for both recall petitions is 25% of the votes cast in the November 2018 gubernatorial election. The four-year terms of office for Evers and Barnes, both Democrats, end in January 2023.
A ‘We, the People’ movement
Since the launch of her dual petition drives, Polewczynski has been encouraged by the support that she’s seen.
“The petition drive results are surpassing expectations,” she said. “Volunteers are spreading the word to their friends and families, who are in turn bringing more volunteers. This is truly a movement of ‘We, the People.’ This is truly a nonpartisan and completely grassroots movement. Republicans, Democrats and Independents together are expressing their disgust at the lack of leadership displayed by Gov. Evers and Lt. Gov. Barnes and are saying enough is enough.”
Polewczynski said several common threads run through support for the recall petition drives.
“Petition signers cite many reasons for wanting to put their names down, but the overwhelming majority give two reasons – the unconstitutional mask mandate and the total disregard by these leaders for the safety of our citizens during the horrific anarchy and destruction in Kenosha,” she noted. “Afterward, the governor offered a $20,000 low interest loan to the business owners who lost their livelihoods, considered by many to be a slap in the face. Another reason is the governor’s mishandling of unemployment checks still owed to over 600,000 citizens, and his support of forced vaccinations.”
Accountability said to be key issue
Polewczysnski said the recall petitions have no political agenda, but rather are based in an overarching desire to hold all elected officials accountable to the citizens they represent.
“We have issued this recall as a group of people, without political agendas, for the sake of all Wisconsinites,” she said. “We all, each and everyone one of us, deserve leaders who will work together to restore our communities and faith in each other.”
The Republican Party of Wisconsin released the following statement from Chairman Andrew Hitt regarding the efforts to recall Evers:
“Given the Governor’s inability to keep Wisconsinites in Kenosha safe and deliver basic government functions, it’s no wonder that a group of citizens would be motivated to have new leadership in the Governor’s Office as soon as possible and work towards that end. We will continue to focus and urge others to focus on efforts on reelecting President Trump, because a Joe Biden presidency would be a disaster that would send our nation into further lawlessness and on the path to a socialist America.”
The Journal Times attempted to contact the Democratic Party of Wisconsin via email for a statement on the petition recall drives. No response was received as of press time.
In a statement frequently quoted by numerous Wisconsin media outlets in the wake of the recall petition launches, officials with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin said “trying to recall a governor with a 57% job approval rating in the midst of a global pandemic and civil unrest is irresponsible and absurd.”
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