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April 08, 2011

Kloppenburg Seeks Open Records Request from Waukesha County

Posted in: Uncategorized

JoAnne Kloppenburg, now behind by around 7,000 votes in the closely contested state Supreme Court race in Wisconsin, has filed an open records request seeking all documentation surrounding the sudden discovery of 14,000 votes in Waukesha County by the right-wing County Clerk on her home PC:

“Wisconsin voters as well as the Kloppenburg for Justice Campaign deserve a full explanation of how and why these 14,000 votes from an entire City were missed. To that end, we will be filing open records requests for all relevant documentation related to the reporting of election results in Waukesha County, as well as to the discovery and reporting of the errors announced by the County. We are confident that election officials in Waukesha County will fulfill these requests as quickly as possible so that both our campaign and the people of Wisconsin can fully understand what happened and why. Just as Assistant Attorney General Kloppenburg has run to restore confidence in the court, Wisconsin residents also deserve to have full confidence in election results.”

It’s worth noting that Kloppenburg gains in other parts of the canvass have kept her within the 0.5% required for a recount paid for by the state. So far, her campaign is only pursuing the records request.

As it turns out, this is not the first time something has gone askew in Waukesha County. Check this out from 2006. A primary for an Assembly seat had results shift on her mid-stream in that race, too. And certainly the process in the county, where Kathy Nickolaus keeps all the tallying on her home computer, is a bit unusual. Not to mention the fact that she sat on the revelation of the missing votes in Brookfield for 29 hours before revealing it. Nickolaus, incidentally, worked for the Assembly Republican caucus at a time when David Prosser was the Speaker of the Assembly, i.e. her boss.

The difference between the 2006 incident and today is that Waukesha does not use touch-screen voting systems any longer. There is a paper record of all of these ballots. And so, as a double-check given the highly unusual nature of the glitch, all of those ballots should be impounded and counted.

That point of view would have an ally in Scott Walker, who said this on Wednesday:

A recount could begin as soon as next week. “As long as the rules are clear, as long as there aren’t ballots somehow found out of the blue that weren’t counted before, things of that nature, as long as everything’s above board, I think that’s fair,” said Walker.

I couldn’t agree more.

UPDATE: Earlier I said that Waukesha County doesn’t use touch-screen machines. I was under the impression that all their voting systems used optical scan ballots that had a paper record. However, it turns out that their accessible equipment is the Sequoia AVC Edge II 5.0.24, which is a touch-screen machine. If that’s truly only used as accessible equipment, i.e. for disabled people who cannot fill out an optical scan ballot, that would be a vanishingly small fraction of total ballots cast. But it’s worth noting, and I regret the error.

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