MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Sixteen candidates have filed nomination papers in six state Senate districts where the Republican incumbents are being targeted for recall elections.

The Wisconsin Republican Party says six Republicans are running as Democrats to force a primary election on July 12. That would put the general election against the Republican incumbents on Aug. 9.

Democrats are decrying the move as a dishonest manipulation of the election system. But Republican backers say this is a way for them to give the incumbents more time to prepare for the election.

The Democratic Party says they have encouraged three "placeholder" candidates who filed papers to ensure all the general elections will be held on the same day.

The state must still certify the candidates.