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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court Votes Just Don't Add Up?

Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’ Fuzzy Math Doesn’t Add Up in Wisconsin Race

GAB is sending staff to Waukesha County to review vote totals for the Wisconsin Supreme Court Race after Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’ announced yesterday that she left the city of Brookfield off of the totals she initially reported. She explained that she uses Microsoft Access and that she forgot to hit “save” after manually inputting the numbers. She “found” 14,000 votes yesterday, which led to a net 7,500 votes in favor of Prosser, who now leads at 7,319. This total gets Prosser just over the 5%, under which the state will pay for a recount. However, there’s a problem with these found votes; Nickolaus’ math doesn’t add up.
It’s my understanding that Microsoft Access does an automatic save while it’s being used, but I have to question why any clerk is being allowed to keep votes only on her computer, refuses to share them on the county computers, and trusts her own inputting of numbers that she doesn’t save, especially with her track record of criminal investigations and reprimands from county officials regarding the failure of security in her procedures. Kathy goes way back with the Republican Party, and this isn’t her first go at electioneering, if you will, on behalf of the party. Kathy seems at best incompetent, but since all of her errors benefit only one party, it begs the question of whether or not she is engaging in fraudulent activities. In either case, I’m unclear as to why she has been entrusted with the votes of taxpaying citizens.
To add to all of that, a friend of mine who happens to be an attorney did some math on the Wisconsin situation, and Nickolaus’ numbers don’t add up. He sent me the following breakdown, to which I’ve added editorial information. According to the 2010 census, there are 38,649 living in Brookfield. Of these Male 48.4% Female 51.6%, Median Age 42.
Most of the media has been focusing on the 38,649 number, which — given a 33% turnout over all — would yield about the 14,000 votes reported. This makes sense, and certainly Kathy Nickolaus knows how to break up demographics having made the computer program that breaks apart voting trends in different counties for the Republican Party.

But the voting age and over population for Brookfield is 73.2%. This yields a possible voting base of 28,291. Registered voters? Doesn’t matter. Wisconsin allows folks to register on the day of the elections.
So, let’s assume all of the 28,291 were registered. The figures don’t add up: Statewide turnout —and in the rest of Waukesha county — was 33%. Even assuming that all 28,291 over the age of 18 were registered voters, that 33% turnout — which was reported as very high — would have yielded no more than 9,430 votes.
But Kathy Nickalous reported 14,315 votes, a surprising 53% increase of a voting surge, for that one city — over the rest of Wisconsin and from Wuukesha County — from 33% to 50.5%
And in Brookfield, at least 75% of that total had to choose incumbent David Prosser against 25% for challenger Joan Klopenberg to reach just beyond the .5% margin to avoid a mandatory recount.
I’m sorry, but the places we were likely to see the most motivated voters were not in conservative areas; this is proven in the recall efforts, for example, as well as by the shifts in rural areas that went for Walker in 2010. Emily Mills reported for the Daily Isthmus:
In fact, some of the strongest support for Kloppenburg came from places like rural Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, and Iron Counties up north. In total, 32 counties straight-up went to Kloppenburg, and even in counties that favored Prosser, several did so in much smaller numbers than they’d done in the primaries, indicating a serious shift away from the incumbent in the wake of Walker’s union-busting and the wave of protests.
So, areas that went for Walker flipped to Kloppenburg and areas that went for Prosser had lower numbers than they did in the primaries. Voter enthusiasm on the conservative side was down. The most motivated voters are the people who are the most threatened by the anti-union bill, and those voters turned out to vote for Kloppenburg. So I can’t buy this surge in voter turnout that is higher than any other county in Wisconsin. I can, however, buy that 75% of the voters went for Prosser in that county, even if it’s a bit of a stretch.
But what strains credulity the most is the perfect number that got them over the hump of a state paid recall, coming from an error from a clerk’s computer who has already been involved in a criminal investigation, was involved in an audit in 2010 in which she refused to abide by the suggestions of how to make her office more secure, and a person who was the GOP computer analyst for the GOP assembly, and as such, Prosser was her boss for a period.
There has been a systemic effort by the Wisconsin GOP to achieve the passage of their anti-union bill even when it involved ignoring a judge’s orders two times, locking people out of the Capital, and violating the very important open meetings law. 


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