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Local effort contributed thousands of signatures

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
January 18, 2012

Lisa Sheldon recently slipped on ice and broke her ankle, but she wasn't going to let that stop her from being there when the petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker were delivered to the Government Accountability Board.


Sheldon of Janesville was an organizer for United Wisconsin during the recall effort. She rolled on her wheelchair into the GAB office Tuesday, a box of petitions on her lap.


Later, she could be heard on her cell phone in the midst of a happy, cheering crowd of hundreds of activists from across the state celebrating what they said was more than 1 million signatures calling for an election to recall the governor.


"People were cheering and crying. It was just one of most incredible experiences of my life," she said of the scene at the GAB. "I'm so glad I didn't have to miss it."


United Wisconsin's quota of signatures for Rock, Green and Walworth counties kept changing as signatures poured in, Sheldon said. It was finally raised to 33,000, but the three counties exceeded that, collecting about 39,000.


Sheldon had only estimates, not final figures, Tuesday.


About 21,000 Rock County residents signed recall petitions, Sheldon said. That's about 2.1 percent of the statewide total.


In comparison, more than 50,000 Rock County residents voted in the last gubernatorial election, nearly 27,000 of them for Democratic candidate Tom Barrett.


Walworth County accounted for about 10,000 signatures, or 1 percent of the total.


More than 34,000 Walworth County residents voted in the last gubernatorial election. Barrett garnered nearly 12,000 votes in Walworth County.


About 8,000 signatures were collected in Green County, Sheldon said.


Sheldon said Tuesday was for celebrating, and then it's back to work on the election.


"We got 1 million people to sign," she said. "Now, we've got to get those million people to vote."


Not everyone was happy Tuesday.


The Republican Party of Rock County issued a news release attacking the recall effort.


"Today is a sad day for everyone that lives in Wisconsin. Special interest groups have hijacked Wisconsin's political process and perverted the tools of control provided by our state constitution into an illegitimate political weapon," county party Chairman Jason Mielke said in the release.


Local Republicans will join thousands of others across the state "to verify the integrity of these petitions," the release states.


Walker supporters have been training volunteers how to check signatures, according to news reports.



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