Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Recall Against Alderman Witkowiak Thrown Out By Milwaukee Election Commission

City Election Commission determined, not enough valid signatures to recall 12th District Alderman Witkowiak.

By H. Nelson Goodson
April 19, 2011

Milwaukee - On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Election Commission decided to throw out a recall petition aimed to remove Alderman James Witkowiak from the 12th Aldermanic District. The commission agreed with Alderman Witkowiak and Friends of James Witkowiak campaign committee that a large amount of signatures in recall petitions failed to meet verification and were voided. A significant amount of signatures gathered by recall organizers had been forged and others who signed the petitions showed fraudulent addresses with empty lots or businesses in which signators weren't residing at.
Witkowiak and members of his campaign committee went to more than 1,000 addresses found in recall petitions and discovered major discrepancies. Previously, the election commission had confirmed that 539 signatures of 1,603 signatures turned in were invalid. At least 1,064 were considered valid and only 1,040 valid signatures are required to force a recall, according to Susan Edman, executive director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission.
Witkowiak needed to prove that more than 24 signatures were also invalid to force the commission to revoke the recall petition against him. Recall organizers failed to get the required valid signatures to proceed with the recall.
Alderman Witkowiak claimed, his campaign committee proved that more than half of the recall petitions with signatures were false, people who signed those petitions either didn't exist or did not live at addresses and some addresses were vacant lots.
Witkowiak said he will push for a full investigation into the fraudulent signatures in petitions. “I’m calling on the City Attorney and District Attorney to conduct a thorough investigation of who and what was involved here and consider criminal charges,” Witkowiak said. He plans to turn over copies of the documents submitted to the City Election Commission and examples of the fraudulent signatures to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office.
A recall petition was filed by Mirna Santiago who lives in the 12th Aldermanic District and her daughter the recall treasurer Malinda Meller who lives outside of the district. Santiago claimed and alleged Alderman Witkowiak has used law enforcement resources in an attempt to close businesses and eliminate jobs...Witkowiak making false statements and using his staff Mike McGuire for political purposes and engaging to "eliminate jobs," according to the January 21 petition filing statement.
Santiago and recall supporters can appeal the city Election Commission's decision not to certify Witkowiak's recall petition. Santiago or Meller could not be reach for comment.

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