WI dems challenge Michels' governor primary nomination papers

NOW: WI dems challenge Michels’ governor primary nomination papers

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The fate of Tim Michels' placement on the GOP primary ballot for Wisconsin governor is up for debate.

The state's Democratic Party alleges that Michels should not be on the August primary ballot, claiming he violated election laws in regards to signatures he submitted when he filed to join the GOP race.

Representatives and attorneys with the Democratic Party on Sunday explained that Wisconsin state law requires a candidate's mailing address to be included on nomination papers. 

The complaint filed with the Wisconsin Elections Commission alleges that Michels only used his home address listing his voting municipality in Chenequa on most of the papers signed, and did not include his specific mailing address indicating the city of Hartland. 

"Out of the 3,861 signatures submitted by the Michels campaign, only 345 of those signatures, less than 9 percent, appear on a nomination paper that has the correct information," said attorney Jeff Mandell.

It is required to reach a minimum of 2,000 legitimate signatures to appear on the ballot for governor. Under state law, Mandell says many of Michels signatures don't count.

"The vast majority of the nomination papers were submitted in a way that can be accepted because it does not comply with Wisconsin statutes," Mandell said.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is expected to discuss the issue on Friday, June 10. 

Political expert, Mordecai Lee, tells CBS 58 that with with three democrats and three republicans on the commission, it's likely the vote will split and the complaint will be dismissed.

"If, hypothetically, the dems were to say 'I move to knock him off the ballot,' a three-to-three vote in parliamentary procedure means a motion doesn't pass," Lee said, "I just can't imagine that this is something that's gonna knock him off the ballot."

Lee explained that though the exact city of the mailing address wasn't listed, the address on the majority of the ballots was Michels' correct legitimate municipality address. Lee believes this mistake could be small enough to slip through the cracks.

 "I think generally speaking, judges want democracy to work, and it has to be a substantive mistake on the nomination papers to knock somebody off the ballot. I don't think this is a substantive mistake," Lee said.

Tim Michels and his campaign responded to these allegations with a statement that reads in part,  "It comes as no surprise that they launched a frivolous complaint in an attempt to keep me off the ballot, just days after I was endorsed by President Trump. They will not succeed. Moreover, none of this sideshow will distract our campaign from taking the fight directly to Tony Evers."

We reached out to Governor Tony Evers, and Michel's primary opponents, Rebecca Kleefisch, Kevin Nicholson and timothy Ramthun, and have not received any responses.


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