Last year, Angela McCaskill, the Chief Diversity Officer at Gallaudet University, was placed on leave from her job for simply signing a petition.
That was a violation of her rights, plain and simple.
Well, someone in Wisconsin just lost his job for signing a petition. But there is a difference.
On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Tom Wolfgram in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, was defeated by a better than 20 point margin in his bid for re-election. Never before had Wolfgram, a three-term, eighteen-year incumbent, even faced opposition.
But then he signed the petition to recall Governor Scott Walker.
The petition successfully triggered a recall election, but proved unsuccessful in removing Gov. Walker.
But because petition signatories are a matter of public record, Wisconsinites (and the known universe) discovered that Judge Wolfgram had signed that petition to put a recall of the governor on the ballot.
The petition, or at least Wolfgram’s signature on it, triggered Wolfgram’s opponent, attorney Joe Voiland, to launch a campaign for the judicial post by attacking Wolfgram for lack of impartiality . . . for signing the Walker Recall.
Some argue that those calling to put a measure on the ballot must do so fully under the public lens. Others fear retribution to signers, equating the signing of a petition with the casting of a vote.
I fall into the latter camp. While opponents must have the access necessary to make any reasonable challenge to the validity of the signatures, that can be accomplished without allowing full public disclosure of all the personal data of those who have signed.
However, as in this case, once the public has the information, repercussions at the ballot box can hardly be prevented.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.