Photo by Invisible Hour (Flickr Creative Commons)
Something is stinky in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. A whole bunch of people are calling shenanigans over this:
Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus just announced that she forgot to report votes from the City of Brookfield on election night, giving Justice David Prosser an additional 7,381 vote edge, ending any free recount possibilities, and giving Prosser the election.
The scenario, given the cast of characters, requires one to suspend disbelief to accept it as true.
Nickolaus, a highly partisan Republican who formerly worked in the Republican Assembly caucus, has been under fire for insisting on keeping voting records in her own personal computer rather than using a more sophisticated system most of the rest of Wisconsin uses.
Who brings us the news? Not a legitimate media outlet, but Christian Schneider, an operative of the right-wing Wisconsin Public Research Institute. The first “breaking news” came from the National Review Online. How did he get the news?
Nickolaus said in a news conference tonight that “human error” was responsible for her failure to include City of Brookfield totals in the vote counts she reported for Waukesha County on election night.
“It was human error … which I apologize for … which is common,” she said somewhat haltingly.
In fact, earlier in the day, before the magic laptop votes appeared, One Wisconsin Now noted the really odd poll results pattern in Waukesha County:
On Tuesday, shockingly-large turnout suddenly emerged from Waukesha County, which did not comport with either the results of previous spring elections, or even internal estimates from city officials mid-day. In fact, a Waukesha City Deputy Clerk said at 1:18pm that turnout was very typical, predicting somewhere between 20 to 25 percent. As Tuesday night wore on, reporting in Waukesha County stopped altogether for hours, leaving observers to wonder what was going on. Then suddenly, results suggesting massive turnout started to pour in rapidly with Prosser adding dramatically to his total by a 73-27 percent margin.
One Wisconsin Now estimates put overall turnout near 38 percent, a wild outlier to historical data and the earlier mid-day estimation of Waukesha’s own officials. In April 2009, turnout was 20 percent; April 2008, turnout was 22 percent and in April 2007, turnout was 24 percent. All of these elections had hotly-contested Supreme Court races as well.
And when you add in the fact that Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, a former staffer for the Republican State Assembly Caucus when Prosser led that caucus, has been chastised before and repeatedly for her secrecy and her rather hinky handling of election data, suddenly things start to look REALLY suspicious.
Here’s what super-duper stinky about this: If these magic laptop votes, discovered two days after the election, are allowed to stand, they make it so that Prosser’s margin is just large enough to avoid an automatic recount; Kloppenburg would have to pay for one if she wanted one. How convenient — for Prosser, who used to be her boss. What a coincidence — that they would be found in a county whose voting system was run by someone known for her penchant for secrecy and cutting corners, as well as being a hardcore Republican ideologue.
(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)