Wisconsin: “Judge orders Gov. Scott Walker to hold special elections for open legislative seats in Eric Holder suit”

Patrick Marley:

Dealing a setback to Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans, a judge ruled Thursday the governor must call special elections to fill two vacant seats in the Legislature.

Walker declined to call those elections after two GOP lawmakers stepped down to join his administration in December.

His plan would have left the seats vacant for more than a year. Voters in those areas took him to court with the help of a group headed by Eric Holder, the first attorney general under Democratic President Barack Obama.

Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds — whom Walker appointed to the benchin 2014 — determined Walker had a duty under state law to hold special elections so voters could have representation in the Legislature. She said failing to hold special elections infringed on the voting rights of people who lived in the two districts.

“To state the obvious, if the plaintiffs have a right to vote for their representatives, they must have an election to do so,” said Reynolds….

An attorney for Walker raised the prospect of trying to block the ruling but said no final decision on whether to do that had been made. Spokespeople for Walker and GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel said they had not yet decided whether Walker would order the special elections or pursue an appeal.

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