When JoAnne Kloppenburg declared victory yesterday in the Wisconsin state Supreme Court race, that was based on unofficial results compiled by the AP. They were subject to slight alterations, but with a spread of 204 votes among 1.5 million cast, even slight alterations could change the outcome of the race. And some changes in Winnebago County have brought us there.
A tally compiled by The Associated Press Wednesday and used by news organizations statewide, including the Journal Sentinel, indicated Kloppenburg was leading the race by 204 votes. Figures on Winnebago County’s website are now different from those collected by the AP.
Winnebago County’s numbers say Prosser received 20,701 votes to Kloppenburg’s 18,887. The AP has 19,991 for Prosser to Kloppenburg’s 18,421.
The new numbers would give Prosser 244 more votes, or a 40-vote lead statewide.
Prosser may have also picked up an additional 200 votes because of a clerical error in New Berlin, in Waukesha County.
The numbers are likely to flip back and forth more than once throughout the next several weeks. A recount is almost certain, and we’re well within the window for that regardless of where the count ends up.
UPDATE: There are also examples of Prosser losing votes, like here in Grant County. With a race this close, there are going to be a lot of swings. Best to wait until everything comes in. And, I will add that these changes to the vote totals after canvasses typically even out over time.
UPDATE: An unconfirmed report in National Review claims that a “computer error” in Waukesha County will net Prosser some 7,000 votes, putting him in the lead and outside of recount territory. One Wisconsin Now, a progressive group in the state, has heavily criticized Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus for her past practices and the heavy secrecy surrounding this election.
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 [...]
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.
Now this could approach scandal territory. Let’s see where it goes.