In 1918, the Spanish flu attacked young, otherwise healthy adults, killed quickly and often, and leapt from Europe to Wisconsin with unimaginable speed. Its cause was unknown; its mode of transmission was unknown; how to stop it was unknown.
When debating Gov. Scott Walker's decision to not call special elections to fill two vacancies in the Wisconsin Legislature, state political figures and commentators have argued over the move's implications elections law, public spending and democracy itself. But what about precedent?
An investigation of 105 special elections in Wisconsin since 1971, as well as 45 legislative vacancies not filled through special elections over the same time period, indicates that it's pretty normal for governors to call them swiftly and without much fuss. But Gov. Scott Walker is challenging that norm with a recent decision.