Steven F. Freeman

The 2011 Waukesha, Wisconsin Election "Snafu"

page created: 01/15/2012
page last modified: 02/26/2013

Diana Finch, in a post to the EI google group (below), notes the importancethe Waukesha, Wisconsin election "snafu." For those who have not been following, initial results in an important Wisconsin special election were "corrected" by a county official.

As Jon Simon put it, "The unfolding saga -- a miracle 7,583 votes magically found for the Republican candidate (found by a former employee of that candidate) in another "proxy" election with seismic implications. Just exactly enough votes to dodge the mandatory recount that would have revealed . . . who knows?" [1] It's a sorry spectacle that would be seem incredible based on everything taught in school and reported or opined on mainstream media (and even the establishment-left like The Nation) about democracy. But in my experience it's virtually emblematic of the way the system works:

  1. The media tries to whip up excitement in a horse-race of an election. Occasionally activists, and even voters, get interested - or even involved.
  2. The results come in; the winners are declared and the pundits explain what it meant.
  3. Everyone goes home.

Except that it's all a sham, as exposed by the occasional election that must be stolen more openly, when we see the hollow shell of "democratic" processes:

  1. Media ignore or accept whatever sorry lame story comes forth; and anyone who doesn't is marginalized as a lunatic (or worse)
  2. Democratic party provides mainstream cover
  3. Candidate bails (we'll see what happens here)

This case, however, would seem almost a best case scenario for election integrity to prevail:

So  right. Let's see what happens. Those of you in Wisconsin or in the unions, in particular, can you give us any reports? Diana's right that  is important and potentially illuminating. Bradblog seems to be the place to follow it best. Mark Crispin Miller has also been steadily updating his site.

Notes:
[1] Jonathan Simon, ""Open Letter to the Media"  PDF at <http://markcrispinmiller.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/OpenLetter4-5... f>

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From: electionintegrity@googlegroups.com [Diana Finch]
Sent: 08 April, 2011 12:22 AM
Subject: [ei] I hope everyone is following the story of the Waukesha Wisc election snafu

A very thorough report of the goings-on is on bradblog. http://www.bradblog.com/?p=8456

Apparently the county canvas of the election results 2 days later found that somehow the reported vote totals for one city were zero in every race, which was not noticed at the time (?!?)  - and the missing votes that have now been added in put the Republican candidate ahead by just enough votes to avoid a recount.

The County Clerk's explanation is that although she is sure she added the votes in on election night, somehow the totals from one city were not saved into her database, no one noticed, and that initial database provided the results announced to AP.

County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus keeps all the election results on her PC in her office, and is the sole person to tabulate the results from the individual districts and upload said results to the state site. She uses an Access program for the data.

The more we think about this, the less sense it makes.  Unless the County Clerk did everything in secret, by herself, and nobody else ever checked what she was doing???

The huffingtonpost has a video of her press conference in which she reports the 'human error' involved and one brave reporter tries to get more of an explanation out of her. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/07/david-prosser-wisconsin-supr... rt_n_846431.html

I only hope that Wisconsin voters have the means and the wherewithal to get to the bottom of this one . . .

And of course the County Clerk is a Republican and a former 13-year employee of the  Republican candidate who was losing and who now ends up winning because of the restored 'missing' votes.

And instead of having a recount mandated by state election law and paid for by state funds, any recount will have to now be the result of a legal
challenge and paid for by the challenging candidate's party.

Please comment and discuss!
    Diana Finch

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