Waukesha County, Wisconsin's County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus was already known, for some time, to be among the nation's worst elections official. And that's saying quite a bit. But new information being discovered over the past several days suggests she may be even worse than previously known --- which is also saying quite a bit.
We noted last Friday that the stunning 14,000+ "new" votes she announced as having discovered in the state's Supreme Court election from the city of Brookfield last Thursday actually weren't "new" at all. In fact, they were independently reported late on Election Night by Lisa Sink of the Brookfield Patch, exactly as they were eventually included in Nickolaus' final canvass report [XLS].
If anything, as we indicated in the same article, it is perhaps more troubling that the city of Brookfield's numbers didn't change at all from Election Night, suggesting that the ballots have never been examined by any human beings in order to assure the accuracy of the oft-failed, easily-manipulated optical-scanners used to tabulate the paper ballots in Waukesha (and across most of the state.)
That's just one reason why a complete public hand-count of all paper ballots should be carried out in Waukesha right now, presuming the chain of custody for those ballots can be demonstrated as having been secure since Election Night. Given the razor-thin margin of the still unofficial final results in the race between Justice David Prosser (a partisan Republican and avowed Gov. Scott Walker supporter) and the independent Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, a similarly public hand-count of all paper ballots across the entire state should be a no-brainer at this point in order to achieve some form of confidence in the results of the, reportedly, incredibly close contest.
The "Protect Our Elections" campaign of VelvetRevolution.us has now publicly called for exactly that --- a public hand-count of all paper ballots across the entire state. [DISCLOSURE: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR.]
Last week, The BRAD BLOG also detailed some of Nickolaus' horrific record as County Clerk, and just a few of the embarrassments she's caused for her county, including her practice of keeping election results only on a circa 1995 personal computer in her office; using the same user ID and password for all of the employees allowed to access it; and refusing to release city-by-city, much less ward-by-ward election results on Election Night. (The latter is one of the reasons the "missing" 14,000+ votes weren't noticed by anyone in the media or citizenry earlier.) Those were just a few of the troubling concerns highlighted in an independent audit carried out on behalf of the County Board of Executives last year after they'd discovered many serious deficiencies and security concerns in Nickolaus' election procedures.
But now, thanks to some great citizen oversight --- to be sure, not easy to do in Nickolaus' county, as she makes it as absolutely as difficult as possible for citizens to oversee their own elections --- from a blogger at the Daily Kos, we learn still more troubling facts about elections and their administration in the very Republican-leaning Waukesha, including evidence suggesting 20,000 more votes than "ballots cast" were tallied by Nickolaus in the county's 2006 general election, and a remarkable 97.63% voter turnout there in the 2004 Presidential election.
We've been trying to get to the bottom of these anomalies since they were first discovered a few days ago, and we've been going back and forth with Nickolaus to try and clear them up. Here's what we've been able to figure out...