Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Mandatory Recount Starts Tomorrow — and Kathy Nickolaus Recuses Herself in Waukesha County

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Folks, the biggest thing to hit Wisconsin politics in twenty-two years starts tomorrow — the mandatory recount for the race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court between challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg and incumbent Justice David Prosser.  Prosser, as you might recall from my previous blog posts, is a former Republican Speaker of the Assembly, and though judges are officially non-partisan, JoAnne Kloppenburg was seen as an independent or perhaps as a left-leaning potential jurist (though truly none of us know what she’ll do, she seems honest and fair-minded, and potentially a very good judge).

Though I should have more to say on this tomorrow, right now I have one piece of news to report and it’s unexpected — it’s that Kathy Nickolaus, the under-fire County Clerk of Waukesha County, has recused herself from the upcoming proceedings.  Nickolaus gained national fame (or infamy, take your pick) when she realized, a day and a half late, that she hadn’t properly counted Brookfield’s 14,000 votes, throwing the race to Prosser by 7,000 votes due to the pattern of votes in Brookfield.  Nickolaus claimed she’d “not hit the save button” and blamed her failure to count Brookfield on “human error,” yet there have been multitudinous errors in Waukesha County for years (please see previous blogs on the subject, especially this one:  https://elfyverse.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/recount-necessary-for-one-waukesha-county-voting-irregularities-go-back-to-2004/) and Nickolaus has always blamed “human error.”

Here’s the story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/120739214.html

And a quote:

Nickolaus took herself out of the recount process, Nowak said, to avoid the appearance of conflict or to give the candidates the ability to raise objections about her performance.

Nickolaus sent out communications to local clerks who had to provide additional materials for the recount, which starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Nickolaus will still be present for the recount as the county clerk, Nowak said. She will not serve on the Canvass Board, which includes Democrat Ramona Kitzinger and Republican Pat Karcher.

As a result of Nickolaus’ election-night reporting error, the Government Accountability Board investigated her canvass and her business practices. Last week, the board said that despite some anomalies, the canvass was consistent with results reported by local municipal clerks.

Note that instead of Nickolaus, two others will be observing the mandatory recount in Waukesha county, these being retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Mawdsley and a retired state elections official, Barb Hansen from the Town of Delafield, who should be able to assist Mawdsley during the recount proceedings.

I am glad the recount is proceeding and look forward to more updates as the week progresses.

Oh, and one other update — the Committee to Recall sitting Republican state Senator Robert Cowles (from Green Bay) has announced they have enough signatures to force a recall election, but will turn in their signatures to the Government Accountability Board on Thursday (I’m assuming this is due to the mandatory recount for the judicial race) in Madison.  Here’s a link:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/26/970286/-Wisconsin-Democrats-to-file-sixth-recall-petition-against-GOP-state-Senator?amp&amp

So the recall efforts continue to progress as well.

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