Waukesha’s Republican County Clerk “finds” 7,500 more votes for David Prosser

UPDATE: Having watched the news conference where the “discovery” of these missing votes was announced, I can’t help but wonder why it took something in the neighborhood of 29 hours after these votes were “discovered” for Kathy Nickolaus to make the announcement regarding the votes. What’s more, how is it that Christian Schneider of right-wing Wisconsin Policy Research Institute broke this story before anyone else? What inside information was Schneider given?


Just a few minutes ago, Kathy Nickolaus, the Republican County Clerk of Waukesha who used to work for the Assembly Republican Caucus, dropped what can only be categorized as a bombshell when she revealed more than 7,000 votes in favor of Justice David Prosser in Waukesha County were “found” two days after election day.

Kathy Nickolaus has come under sharp criticism over the past six months for her handling of elections, including removing election results collection and tallying systems from the Waukesha County computer network and placing those systems on a personal computer in her office:

The issue came to a head when Nickolaus removed the election results collection and tallying system from the county computer network this spring and installed it on standalone personal computers in her office. She has said they are backed up with redundant systems.

Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said Nickolaus has been uncooperative with attempts to have information technologists review the system and confirm the backups.

He said he isn’t interested in placing the system on the county network, but he wants to know whether the system is functional and secure and whether the county will have to replace equipment and programs in the next budget year – in time for the next presidential election.

“It is not a good idea to have one person in charge of everything,” Cummings told the committee. “There should be someone who also reviews things. I’m not saying it should be IT. But there should be more accountability than there is now.”

Following the audit of her practices, Nickolaus came under fire from the Waukesha County Board of Supervisors (no bunch of liberals, to be sure), who didn’t appreciate her reaction to their concerns:

“There really is nothing funny about this, Kathy,” said Waukesha County Board Chairman Jim Dwyer when Nickolaus willfully ignored complying with the earlier impartial audit. “Don’t sit there and grin when I’m explaining what this is about.”

[. . .]

The audit was requested by the Executive Committee after the county’s director of administration, Norm Cummings, said Nickolaus had been uncooperative with attempts to have the county’s experts review her systems and confirm that backups were in place.

Because some of her equipment is so dated – such as an 11-year-old modem for transmitting data over the telephone and 1995 software no longer supported – and is not routinely getting security updates, her election systems are not connected to the county’s system but are on stand-alone equipment.

In their audit of Nickolaus’ handling of the systems for collecting and tallying votes, county auditors said it was entirely possible for Nickolaus or one of her employees to tamper with voting data due to Nickolaus’ insistence on controlling password access to those systems.

According to a report by One Wisconsin Now, their estimates of voter turnout in Waukesha County was 38%, a number much higher than in past elections:

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.

In an interesting twist to this whole story, the AFSCME Council 24 SEPAC blog is reporting David Prosser’s campaign has hired two attorneys that represented then-presidential candidate George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount when Vice President Al Gore suddenly found himself not being the winner of the state of Florida.

No doubt if this situation were developing in Milwaukee County and the votes “found” favored JoAnne Kloppenburg, conservatives would be screaming about vote fraud, but since this happened in reliably Republican Waukesha County, that same cast of hypocrites will no doubt stay silent.


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39 thoughts on “Waukesha’s Republican County Clerk “finds” 7,500 more votes for David Prosser

  1. Maybe Schneider was sitting in monitoring the canvassing process?

    They didn’t find a box of ballots. They simply found big zeros in their spreadsheet where Brookfield’s vote totals should have been entered.

    Isn’t there a missing ballot box floating around form Milwaukee county somewhere? If that’s true… there is your scandal…

    1. Maybe Schneider was sitting in Nickolaus’ office when she forgot to push save.

      Yeah, clearly that’s it!

  2. I watched the same news conference and heard the Waukesha county clerk say these votes were not, “discovered”. She forgot to hit save and the canvassing that takes place after every election caught the, “human error”. A very nice lady who claims she was an officer in the Democratic party somewhere in the county backs up the story.

    I’m sure Justice Prosser will hold off on the victory declaration until the votes are certified. Otherwise he would look like a fool.

    1. If it isn’t malfeasance – which I don’t think it is because like the rest of the GOP in this state she ain’t that bright – it’s malpractice of epic proportions and not unreasonable to suspect there are other, possibly major, problems with her count. If we didn’t have a hack AG there’d be an investigation either way.

      1. You do realize that what’s reported to the AP is by no means certified right? The correct and certified numbers have been sent to the state.

        1. Ok, I’ll concede the point. Finding entire cities is an entirely routine catch in the canvassing process.

    2. Prosser looked like a fool when he called the Chief Justice a bitch and threatened to ruin her career. A very nice lady who is a democrat could easily believe whatever the County Clerk wanted her to believe. Nothing seems to be beyond these people. Nothing.

  3. Number is a bit suspicious but I think this is pushing the allegations a bit too far. Could still turn out to be perfectly legitimate. And the city of Brookfield DID vote roughly Prosser +7500. (I saw some election-night-after reports on that)

    Very unlikely for that to be falsified, unless it was counted twice. but I still think she should be removed for her repeated incompetence in Waukesha County.

    1. She’s the only one who has access right? How hard would it be for her to shave votes from other counties? The only real way to solve this is to have that city REVOTE. If that city votes electronically then she can manipulate the votes. The only real way to solve this is to have that city revote.

      1. … A lot of comments from facebook in different areas say at 7pm the number was 1,349 at most, to less than 900. There are 7 polling places in Brookfield. Even if each one had 1300 voters by 7 pm. There would still need to be 4,500 waiting in line.

        This is getting more suspicious.

  4. Tallying votes by 1 (career partisan hack) person on a personal computer that’s taken offline from the government system? Brilliant. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

  5. Only problem I have is how many times was the save button not pushed for Democrat votes. The other problem is she’s the only one who has access supposedly. So how can another lady verify what she had no access to?

  6. “No doubt if this situation were developing in Milwaukee County and the votes ‘found’ favored JoAnne Kloppenburg, conservatives would be screaming about vote fraud, but since this happened in reliably Republican Waukesha County, that same cast of hypocrites will no doubt stay silent.”

    And no doubt if the votes favored Kloppenburg, you wouldn’t be putting “found” and “discovered” in quotes. It’s fascinating to me how partisans on both sides seem so blind to the fact that their claims of hypocrisy almost always cut the other way with equal force.

    1. Finding votes two days after the election doesn’t pass the smell test, no matter who those votes favor.

      1. Well, I will give your speculation that “that same cast of hypocrites” would be screaming if the shoe were on the other foot the same credence as I will give my speculation that you would be completely silent if the shoe were on the other foot.

        1. Nah, I wouldn’t be completely silent, because while I sure do like it when my side wins, I also want those wins to be fair and honest.

        2. And I’ll concede the point that I haven’t called Democrats/liberals out on everything they’ve ever done, but when I’ve come across something really egregious that someone from the left has done, I’ve tried to add my commentary.

          So sure, I’m not perfect, but I never claimed to be.

    2. Sorry Pyrrho – I’ll concede you may have a point about some people, but not Zach. He’s usually the first (and sometimes only) lefty to call B.S. on lefties/Dems when appropriate. The record’s clear and easily searchable on that.

      1. If that is the case (I have no reason to believe it is not and have not been reading this blog long enough to be familiar with Zach’s record on the subject) then I must apologize to Zach and admit that my comment was the result of misdirecting my frustration with the discourse I have been witnessing in this race.

  7. As I understand it she uses Microsoft Access. Well Microsoft Access automatically saves the record you are adding or editing as soon as you move the insertion point to a different record, or close the form or datasheet (datasheet: Data from a table, form, query, view, or stored procedure that is displayed in a row-and-column format.) you are working on. This comes straight from Microsoft. She didn’t have to save it if it does that automatically.

  8. Anyone have turnout percentages by county? Statewide was 33%, this would put Waukesha at 47%? Curious what the other partisan hotspots looked like (thinking Washington, Ashland, Bayfield, Dane, MKE) by comparison.

    1. Douglas (heavy D): 47%
      Washington (heavy R): 46%

      So I guess the turnout of 47% is a believable number. Due respect to Scot, his O.W.N. press release just sounded too hackish even for my hackish taste. Must mean those Very Serious bipartisan and indy-heavy counties really slept at the wheel through this one (as usual) to drag state avg down to 33%.

      I don’t know, it’ll all settle itself when the paper ballots are recounted. Hopefully the Dems are lawyering up as much as the GOP has been. Keep hearing reports of GOP lawyers here, GOP lawyers there…never much mention of Dem lawyers out there. But either way, at a minimum utter, blatant, proud incompetence in Waukesha has ruled this day.

  9. As I said in my previous post, I believe the county clerk said she uses Microsoft Access and forgot to save it, but Microsoft Access automatically saves any database record you are working on. So her excuse that she didn’t save it doesn’t hold water. Check Microsoft if you want verification. Just my observation.

    1. What do I need proof of? I’ve not made any allegations beyond saying that this smells kinda funny. No doubt if this was Milwaukee County and the votes “found” were in favor of JoAnne Kloppenburg, you’d be alleging vote fraud until you were blue in the face.

      Further, you’ve got chutzpah to ask me for proof of anything, considering your propensity for rushing to judgment without having all the facts.

  10. This is all so suspicious that I have no words that can express what I think and feel. It is all too convienent.

  11. I really don’t care how the vote ends up but based on her history with the goverment acountability board and her unwillingness to follow the rules set in place she needs to be fired.

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