JoAnne Kloppenburg was leading sitting Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser in a neck-and-neck election until 7,000 votes for Prosser mysteriously appeared. This is highly suspect to me for the following reasons:
[Waukesha County Clerk Kathy] Nickolaus says repeatedly that she imported the data into Access, but through a process of “human error”, she “forgot to save”. Then come the tears, repeatedly, throughout her presser.
Here’s the problem. Microsoft Access (any version) doesn’t ask you to save. When you enter data into a table, it automatically updates the underlying database. If you close the database accidentally, the data you entered (or imported, in the case of Nickolaus) remains. If you stop to take a phone call from your buddy the governor (for example), your data will still automatically save.
That’s not the only fishy thing. The voter turnout was supposedly about ~25% of Waukesha right up until the ‘blackout’, when it suddenly jumped to an astounding ~75%:
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.
That’s not all, either. Kathy Nickolaus has a history of being criticized (and audited!) for improper vote counting procedure. I can find accusations of impropriety as early as August of last year:
Nickolaus said she decided to take the election data collection and storage system off the county’s computer network - and keep it on stand-alone personal computers accessible only in her office - for security reasons…
Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said because Nickolaus has kept them out of the loop, the county’s information technology specialists have not been able to verify Nickolaus’ claim that the system is secure from failure.
"How does anybody else in the county know, except for her verbal word, that there are backups, and that the software she has out there is performing as it should?" he said. "There’s no way I can assure that the election system is going to be fine for the next presidential election."
When she was called on it, she didn’t take the matter very seriously. In fact, she refused to adopt changes recommended by the County Board and dismissed them with a smirk:
Several committee members said they were uncomfortable with Nickolaus’ refusal to adopt the recommendations.
During one part of the discussion, [Chairman Jim] Dwyer erupted in exasperation at Nickolaus’ facial expressions.
"There really is nothing funny about this, Kathy," he said, raising his voice. "Don’t sit there and grin when I’m explaining what this is about.
"Don’t sit there and say I will take it into consideration," he said, asking her pointedly whether she would change the passwords.
"I have not made my decision," she answered. After supervisors continued to press the issue, Nickolaus indicated she would create three different passwords.
"This isn’t that big of a deal. It isn’t worth an argument," she said. "This is ridiculous."
Nickolaus also said she would make her own assessment of when to back up computer programming for election ballots - and store the more frequent backup in another building, as the auditor recommended.
[T]he discovery of the extra votes is sure to stoke the embers of the heated battles that have taken place across the state over the past two months, particularly because Nickolaus, the woman at the center of the controversy, is a Republican activist. A posting on the website of the Republican Women of Waukesha County indicates that Kathy Nickolaus recently served as president of that group.
I’m not one to make partisan accusations without a reason, but this seems like, at best, an extremely suspect situation. Couple it with her previous status as the President of the ‘Republican Women of Waukesha County’, her refusal to address the security flaws in her system, her lies about Access not saving her documents, and 50% of the entire county showing up between 1PM and when the polls closed and you have to admit that there is something seriously, drastically wrong here.