In Wisconsin Judicial Election, Prosser’s Margin of Victory Drops Enough to Trigger Automatic Free Recount
April 13, 2011
In the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, 69 of 72 counties have reported final results, with the final three likely coming in late today. Current totals show incumbent David Prosser leading by 7,303 votes, which puts the final margin close enough that Kloppenburg can request a recount without her campaign having to pay for it.
Kloppenburg has three days after the vote is certified to request a recount. However, certification will not happen until the Government Accountability Board completes its investigation into Waukesha County results and into County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus. That investigation is ongoing:
A spokesman for the GAB told TPM that they are examining both the individual precinct returns and the manner in which they were reported to the media on election night. While they cannot at this point comment on the substance of that examination, the GAB said that the County Clerk is being cooperative.
Although the investigation is ongoing, it’s a pretty safe prediction that it will not find that Kathy Nickolaus tampered with vote totals. Here is why.
— Kathy Nickolaus is not the only person in possession of vote totals from each precinct (or ward, as a precinct is called in Wisconsin). In each of the 180 wards in Waukesha County, there are multiple poll workers who also have those numbers.
— By adding up numbers from each ward as reported by local poll workers, the Government Accountability Board (which is run entirely by people appointed by a Democratic Governor) can arrive at a vote total for Waukesha County independently of Kathy Nickolaus.
— From that point, the Government Accountability Board can compare the ward by ward results of Waukesha County with those reported Nickolaus and see if there is any discrepancy. During this process, a difference of over 14,000 votes would be easy to find.
This is exactly what the GAB is doing, and no such discrepancy has appeared:
GAB Director Kevin Kennedy says the agency’s investigation of spring election procedures in Waukesha County remains ongoing, but that the final canvass numbers in the city of Brookfield match the initial tallies from poll workers on Election Night.
As others have already reported and the GAB now appears to have confirmed, the additional votes match the total number of votes cast in the City of Brookfield on April 5.
Kathy Nickolaus is a sketchy elections official with a history of problems going back a long way (see the Kathy Nicholaus tag for more info). Additionally, it would have been abrogation of public trust if the GAB did not conduct an investigation into what happened in Waukesha County during this election. However, unless a discrepancy starts to appear between the ward-by-ward numbers reported by local poll workers and those reported by Kathy Nickolaus, then there is no evidence of fraud and nothing is going to change the apparent outcome of this election.