Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
• UPDATED 2:59pm PT with additional reporting from Brad Friedman
With 100% of the precincts now reporting unofficial results, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg leads Justice David Prosser by a remarkably thin 204 votes out of some 1.5 million ballots cast in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race --- according to the computers that count votes in the state.
The unofficial numbers at this hour, according to AP's spreadsheet of those computer results, give Kloppenburg 740,090 votes to Prosser's 739,886.
Despite Kloppenburg's tiny reported lead, the race is virtual dead heat in what might otherwise be a little-noticed state Supreme Court election. The race, however, has been turned into a proxy battle between supporters of the state's controversial new Republican Gov. Scott Walker (who Prosser has allied himself with) and union workers and their supporters who oppose Walker and the state GOP's attempt to legislate away the freedom of citizens to collectively bargain through public worker unions. Outside groups, according to NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, are said to have spent a record $3.5 million on so-called "issue ads" to support their favored candidate in the closing days of the election.
For proponents of Election Integrity, there is both good news and bad in the Badger State. The good news: most of the state's voters used verifiable hand-marked paper ballots to record their votes yesterday. The bad news: Those ballots are counted by easily-manipulated, oft-failed computers instead of human beings; 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines are used by some voters with disabilities across the state; and, given close results, even if a hand-count of paper ballots occurs, as is likely, the number of votes cast on unverifiable DREs could end up being larger than the final margin between the two candidates --- meaning that it will be, literally, impossible to know for certain who actually won the election...