Friday, April 8, 2011

A Feeling Like Floating (WI Sup Court Election Drama)

One of the questions that fascinates me the most is, "If you were insane, how could you discover that fact?"

The conservative incumbent running for the Supreme Court here in Wisconsin had lost the race in the original vote counting. A recount has been all but certain though since the margin between the two candidates was less than three-hundred votes.

Going into this election I was pessimistic about the chances that the republicans would play fair.

I never expected something like this though.


A stunning discovery of votes in Wisconsin could give the state's hotly contested Supreme Court race to the conservative incumbent in an election largely seen as a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's explosive union rights law.

Adding another twist, the county clerk who said she incorrectly entered vote totals in the race has faced criticism before for her handling of elections and previously worked for a state GOP caucus when it was controlled by the candidate who stands to benefit from Thursday's revelation.

The corrected totals gave Justice David Prosser a 7,500-vote lead over little-known liberal assistant state attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg, according to unofficial tallies. Before the announcement, it was assumed the race was headed for a recount. The difference between the two had fluctuated throughout the day Thursday as counties began verifying votes, but at one point was as close as 11.

From the AP

Nickolaus was given immunity from prosecution in a 2002 criminal investigation into illegal activity by members of the Republican Assembly caucus where she worked as a data analyst and computer specialist. Prosser, who as speaker of the Assembly in 1995 and 1996 controlled the same caucus, was not part of the investigation. Nickolaus resigned from her state job in 2002 just before launching her county clerk campaign.


Nickolaus said she didn't notice an absence of votes because her figures showed a 42 percent voter turnout, which exceeded the 30 percent turnout the county typically sees in spring elections.

"That was an amazing amount of votes," she said. "So I had no reason to believe I was missing anything."


"There is a history of secrecy and partisanship surrounding the Waukesha County Clerk and there remain unanswered questions," Scot Ross, director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, said in a statement.

An audit of Nickolaus' handling of the 2010 election found that she needed to take steps to improve security and backup procedures, like stop sharing passwords. The audit was requested after the county's director of administration said Nickolaus had been uncooperative with attempts to have county experts review her systems and confirm backups were in place.

The best part: the immunity she was granted in 2002 was part of a corruption investigation into the Republican party officials illegally using their positions for campaigning.

My brain is exploding.

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