An interesting thing happened yesterday in the Wisconsin race for Supreme Court Justice.
Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said more than 14,000 votes weren’t reported to The Associated Press on Tuesday due to “human error.” Nickolaus previously worked for a GOP caucus that was under the control of Justice David Prosser, who was speaker of the Assembly at the time and who now stands to benefit from the clerk’s error.
There were 3,456 missing votes for Democratic-backed challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg and 11,059 for incumbent GOP-backed Justice David Prosser.
These missing votes were from Waukesha County; specifically, the city of Brookfield. There are a couple of things that make this discovery suspect.
Wisconsin State Journal reporter Mary Spicuzza noted on Twitter, “Kathy Nickolaus worked for Assembly Republican Caucus when Prosser was Speaker. Caucus is controlled by speaker, so he is her former boss.”
Another anomaly is that Nickolaus kept the votes on an outdated personal computer rather than the modern system being used statewide. In a statement from Senate Minority Leader Peter Barca, he notes;
[Nickolaus] has been the subject of multiple complaints from other Waukesha officials on how she handles elections and keeps public information to herself outside the official county system where others can verify it.
The new Supreme Court race vote totals she “discovered” during canvassing not only swung the election but also put the race just barely past the amount needed to trigger a state-financed recount.
It is especially troubling that she waited more than 24 hours to report the startling discovery and then did so at a press conference and only after she verified the results. This makes it all the harder to challenge and audit the integrity of the vote.
The partisan, political history of Ms. Nickolaus and the serious concerns about the quality of her performance found in an audit raises the question of whether an investigation is warranted. The public deserves to know that the votes were counted properly.
Coincidence? Possibly. Fraud? Maybe. Incompetence? Most certainly. Investigation? Likely. Many are calling for an immediate investigation and impounding of all equipment related to the election in Waukesha County. This is likely to be in the spotlight for a few weeks and I suspect Ms. Nickolaus has to be worried about her employment prospects about now.
- “David Prosser, JoAnne Kloppenburg Face Unexpected Twist In Wisconsin Supreme Court Election” and related posts (huffingtonpost.com)
- WATCH: New Twists In Wisconsin Supreme Court Election (huffingtonpost.com)
- Wis. corrects vote count, gives incumbent big lead (msnbc.msn.com)
- Wisconsin Election Surprise: David Prosser Gains 7,500 Votes After ‘Human Error’ In Waukesha County (Huffington Post)