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Hello Kossacks. In case some of you haven't seen this, I thought I would post a recap of today's editorial in The Cap Times, in furtherance of our discussion about the smelly situation in Waukesha County. I looked for another diary on this and haven't seen one, but please forgive if it has already been diaried.  

I was interested to find out what Tammy Baldwin had said in her letter to Attorney General Holder, and The Cap Times editorial has excerpts:

“For our democracy to endure, we, the people, must have faith in its laws and system of justice, including faith that our elections for public office are fair and free from any manipulation or tampering,” Baldwin wrote to Holder. “Following this week’s election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, numerous constituents have contacted me expressing serious doubt that this election was a free and fair one. They fear, as I do, that political interests are manipulating the results.”

It is heartening to know that

Baldwin is not exaggerating when she refers to “numerous constituents … expressing serious doubt that this election was a free and fair one.”

(Indeed. Although the editorial does not mention the campaign from One Wisconsin Now, its  website says that over 10,000 people have signed its petition to Wisconsin State Attorney General Van Hollen to investigate the Waukesha vote. FlotsamInaWebSea mentioned this in a diary yesterday: Another Scott Walker Pawn: Where is AG Van Hollen's Outrage About Election Integrity Now?  

The Cap Times fully supports Ms. Baldwin's efforts:

In such a contested circumstance, it makes total sense to seek the intervention of federal authorities, who frequently step in when there are questions about whether an election was conducted properly.

The editorial also compliments the way Ms. Baldwin expressed her concern:

Baldwin’s tone throughout her letter is measured and responsible. She relies on the facts. And the facts point to the conclusion that outside intervention is warranted.

In her letter, Ms. Baldwin urges the Department of Justice to take action:

I ask for your immediate assistance in investigating these election inconsistencies in Wisconsin. Specifically, I urge you to immediately assign the Justice Department Public Integrity Section, which oversees the federal prosecution of election crimes, to investigate the questionable handling of vote records in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.

And The Cap Times agrees:

Holder should make that assignment. The lawyers from the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section can work with Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board to ensure that the ballots from Waukesha — and any other contested counties — are properly preserved and reviewed. They can, as well, examine computers used by Nickolaus and other Waukesha County officials, just as they can review communications between the clerk and outside actors who may have had an interest in the race.

The editorial concludes with:

“We, the people,” [Baldwin] says, “must be assured that our votes are fairly counted and reported and our democracy remains intact and untainted.”

Action by the U.S. Justice Department, in combination with the GAB and responsible county and local election officials across the state, can begin to provide that assurance. As such, it is absolutely necessary.

Since this is basically a recap, you may want to read the entire editorial here. (U notice I haz new diary skillz?)

I realize that what went down in Waukesha seems like a fait accompli, but I have hope that Ms. Baldwin's letter will move Attorney General Holder to take action.  Perhaps we can bolster support by appealing to other organizations who have the power of the people behind them.  Yesterday I wrote to Color of Change, asking them to start a campaign to urge a federal investigation into the suspicious handling of vote records in Waukesha County. They have a pretty good track record as of late, with the success of their campaigns to get Glenn Beck off the air and Brietbart off the front page of a certain controversial website. They are currently taking on a local issue in a town in Louisiana on behalf of its Mayor Higginbotham, so why not the Waukesha County situation?  Perhaps if other people wrote to them too, they might be persuaded to take up the charge.  

Oh, I'm sure some folks think nothing will happen, that it's a done deal.  Well, I'd like to conclude my second diary by linking a wonderful diary I read yesterday by Clarknt67. It is on a completely different subject; it's an affirmation that even the most conservative religious activist can have a complete and total change of heart, and it is an inspirational story that proves you can effect change by pushing back and speaking up.  

[UPDATE: When I wrote my diary this morning, I was not aware that John Nichols, an associate editor of The Cap Times, had first posted this opinion on his blog at The Nation a couple of days ago.  I came across his blog this afternoon while looking for more information about the situation.]

Discuss

A couple of fellow Kossacks, Jethrock and Jsamuel, encouraged me to help spread the word about this interesting new development in Waukesha County.  This is my first ever diary, so please excuse any newbie errors.  

You may recall the name Ramona Kitzinger, a Democrat who is on the Waukesha County Board of Canvassers. She was quoted widely last week as verifying Kathy Nickolaus's computer error. Well, this has been very troubling to Ms. Kitzinger, and today she has made an official statement about it:

Statement & Account of Ramona Kitzinger, Waukesha Board of Canvassers member since 2004:

Monday, April 11, 2011

(Waukesha County Democratic Party)On Tuesday night, I received a voice message from someone in the office of Clerk Kathy Nickolaus informing me of a Wednesday canvass meeting, which I returned the next morning and said I would be able to report into the canvass by noon, which I did. Normally the canvass would begin at 9am on Thursday, as has been the general practice for many years.  No one explained why they were beginning the canvass on Wednesday, just to please report immediately.

Before this telephone call, I had not been contacted as the designated Democratic observer, and I saw no public notice of the abnormal canvass time. The phone call simply instructed me to report by noon to begin the canvass, which I did. The canvass then proceeded as normal, with no glaring irregularities or mention of a possible 15,000 vote error in Brookfield City.

On Thursday, I then showed up as per normal procedure at 9am and the canvass again went normally and concluded sometime between 4pm and 5pm. During the course of the day, the issue of minor vote corrections in New Berlin and Lisbon came up, but again nothing of a historic nature or reflecting glaring irregularities. In fact, the matter of vote totals in Brookfield City came up specifically during the course of Thursday”s canvass. In retrospect, it seems both shocking and somewhat appalling there was no mention of discovery of this 15,000 vote human error that ultimately had the potential to tip the balance of an entire statewide election. How is this possible?

Once the canvass had been completed and the results were finalized, I was called into Kathy’s office along with Pat (the Republican observer) and told of an impending 5:30pm press conference. It was at that point that I was first made aware of an error Kathy had made in Brookfield City. Kathy told us she thought she had saved the Brookfield voter information Tuesday night, but then on Wednesday she said she noticed she had not hit save.  Kathy didn’t offer an explanation about why she didn’t mention anything prior to Thursday afternoon’s canvass completion, but showed us different tapes where numbers seemed to add up, though I have no idea where the numbers were coming from. I was not told of the magnitude of this error, just that she had made one. I was then instructed that I would not say anything at the press conference, and was actually surprised when I was asked questions by reporters.

The reason I offer this explanation is that, with the enormous amount of attention this has received over the weekend, many people are offering my statements at the press conference that “the  numbers jibed” as validation they are correct and I can vouch for their accuracy. As I told Kathy when I was called into the room , I am 80 years old and I dont understand anything about computers. I don’t know where the numbers Kathy was showing me ultimately came from, but they seemed to add up. I am still very, very confused about why the canvass was finalized before I was informed of the Brookfield error and it wasn’t even until the press conference was happening that I learned it was this enormous mistake that could swing the whole election. I was never shown anything that would verify Kathy’s statement about the missing vote, and with how events unfolded and people citing me as an authority on this now, I feel like I must speak up.
 

I found out about this a short time ago from my mother-in-law, a Madisonian Democrat, who sent me this link: http://www.orchidforchange.com/...

A few people here have been commenting on this in Jsamuel's diary, Strange Numbers from Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties on Supreme Court Only Ballots:  http://www.dailykos.com/...

At the risk of being thought of as a conspiracy theorist, I still think Ms. Kitzinger's statement is newsworthy, and I promised Jethrock I'd get the word out as soon as possible!  Again, first diary, people, so please forgive the lack of finesse and possible duplication if someone has beat me to it.

[UPDATE:  Thanks for all the recommends and positivity, everyone.  And a big thank you to Ms. Ramona Kitzinger for speaking up about how it really went down!]

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