Thursday, April 7, 2011

Other Shoe Drops: GOP 'Finds' 7,000 Votes In Kloppenburg - Prosser Race - UPDATED

... and they're in a district likely to favor Prosser. sElection 2000, here we go again. The county clerk's office should be holding a press conference about now...

UPDATE:  that county clerk, a former staffer for the Assembly Republican Caucus, has a history of election-related skulduggery:

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, a former staffer for the Assembly Republican Caucus, has been sharply criticized in recent months for her handling of recent elections. Even the archly-conservative Waukesha County Board has sharply condemned Nickolaus after past elections, demanding an immediate audit of her practices following ominous red-flags that emerged regarding her lack of oversight, failure to create backup files and her stubborn insistence to “keep everything secret.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/18/10; 1/17/11]

The County auditors said it was eminently possible -- including historical precedent -- for Nickolaus or a rogue employee to tamper with data. Why? Nickolaus insists on controlling password access and has unilaterally decided to move sensitive files, like election results, onto her personal computer

Uh-huh. The Republan county clerk moved the election results onto her personal computer. Is anybody surprised the results turned out so different even from forecasts in the middle of the day?

UPDATE: I'm going to quote more of that same white paper on Kathy Nickolaus:

Nickolaus has actually scoffed at complying with impartial audits, thumbing her nose at critics. A move that drew a sharp reaction at the time from the County Board Chair:
“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.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/18/10; 1/17/11]
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.
 Oh, yes. Don't treat us like fools: We know what happened here. sElection 2000 was one too many blatantly stolen elections. Wisconsinites should NOT tolerate another one.

UPDATE:  Here's another article from Aug. 2010 about Kathy Nickolaus and the "antique" network in use in the county clerk's office. The following sentence particularly caught my attention:

Nickolaus said she was a programmer for 15 years before becoming county clerk. And she said her staff knows how to operate the system, so "if I get hit by a bus, this election is going to run just fine."
Ooooo-kay, let's see. Waukesha election turnout typical through the middle of the day. Reporting of returns stops for several hours. Reporting resumes with outlandish turnouts and overwhelming votes for Prosser. County clerk had election data on her personal PC. County clerk had programming skills. Tell me... what's wrong with this picture?


  1. Nate Silver thinks it's just incompetence, not fraud...

  2. ellroon, for one rare time I think Nate Silver is flat-out wrong. Why? Look at Nickolaus's history of questionable election behavior. Look at the fact that she has the skill set to do a hack if she wants to. I think a simple incompetent mistake is about as likely as a flying pig. This was fraud; I'd bet money on it.

    Please note that about the only mechanism for committing the Republan's much-ballyhooed voter fraud in this day and age is the hacking or similar manipulation of e-voting equipment or electronic ballots. A nation that was serious about eliminating voter fraud would return to a system of paper ballots with a strict chain of custody. Anything less could result in incidents like this one.

  3. "The human who made the error was none other than Ms. Nickolaus, who said she had failed to save a computer file after entering Brookfield’s results." - NS

    No. The scuttlebutt is that the data was contained in a Microsoft Access database, regrettably not uncommon for a certain generation of inadequately secured e-voting systems. Presuming reasonably that she was working on the data in MS Access on her personal computer, I am here to tell you that it is almost impossible to fail to save data in MS Access unless you intend to discard it.

    I think a FOIA request is in order, followed by a forensic examination of all Nickolaus's election-related media... hard drives, paper ballots, etc. etc.

  4. One more thing: why in the world was she manually entering results? Was she entering from paper ballots? If so, why were there not other people present to confirm the count? And if not, was the system for aggregating votes from multiple voting machines not automated? And why did she do it all in secret?

    There are simply too many questions that could have easily been answered by following procedures that establish good-faith intentions in the counting process. But those were not done.



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