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View Diary: Wisconsin Recount: Waukesha Stumbles Out of the Gate (125 comments)

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  •  Again, NOT "her" personal computer (1+ / 0-)
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    Some news story wrote "personal computer" instead of "PC", and way, way, way too many people leapt to the conclusion that it meant "personal" computer. It wasn't her "personal" personal computer. It wasn't her "personal" PC. It was on one of several PC's in the office she shares with the other employees of the county clerk's office!

    There is, in fact, accountability. She simply didn't want to allow the county IT staff to access election stuff. Now, she could have and should have handled that differently.

    But again, this isn't about Kathy Nickolaus! It's about a recount. The human error cited in this diary has absolutely nothing to do with Kathy Nickolaus. She didn't cause it, she didn't overlook the error, she had nothing to do with it.

    It's simply a coincidence that this error happened in Waukesha County.

    I have no issue with the recount, btw.

    •  My understanding (6+ / 0-)

      is that Kathy Nickolaus was tallying votes on a computer that no one else in the office had access to.  That it was in fact a PC in her office, her PC, as opposed to just one of many that everyone shares with equal access.  If you or anyone else here can link me to information that proves this wrong, I welcome it.  I like to know the facts.

      And also do you have a source that cites that "she didn't want to allow the county IT staff to access election stuff?"  Haven't heard that yet, and I'm curious about her concerns here.

      Bottom line Dolly, you think it's all about "human error and coincidence."  (And in this case that may well be, although with Kathy's record, the competency issue does come into play) I think it's all about the cancer of election distrust in this county.  Which you have yet to address.

      We see "the problem" very differently.  But I cheer our agreement that the recount is necessary.


      •  And one more thing, Dolly. (5+ / 0-)

        If she was concerned about allowing the county IT staff to access election stuff, how does that gel with your assertion that she was working on one of many computers with multiple access?

        •  I swear, get a clue! (0+ / 0-)

          Just because multiple people in the county clerk's office have access to the election results and voting software doesn't mean that the Waukesha County IT guys also had access to it!

          She was told by the US Elections Commission that she was not supposed to allow anyone without a direct need to access election stuff to access election stuff!

          Her coworkers had a need to access that stuff, and so not surprisingly, they could access that stuff. The county's IT dept had no reason to access election stuff, and so she didn't want to put election stuff on the county's new centralized computer systems!

          Really, if you're so poorly informed on this topic that you don't even know this, then you need to read some of the diaries on this topic from that timeframe before you try to challenge me again.

          •  This makes no sense, Dolly: ""the county's (0+ / 0-)

            IT department had no reason to access election stuff, and so she didn't want to put election stuff on the county's new centralized computer systems!"

            First question:  why didn't she want to put elections stuff on the centralized computer systems?  Especially since multiple people from her office would be having access to the data?  

            Why store it not on an "official" computer system, but on a single computer to which those officially charged with maintaining computers used for county business would not be permitted access?

            That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

            by concernedamerican on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 03:53:40 AM PDT

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            •  this may help a bit (0+ / 0-)

              I don't speak for DollyMadison, and DollyMadison certainly doesn't speak for me.

              Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings... said he isn't interested in placing the system on the county network, but he wants to know whether the system is functional and secure and whether the county will have to replace equipment and programs in the next budget year - in time for the next presidential election.

              "It is not a good idea to have one person in charge of everything," Cummings told the committee. "There should be someone who also reviews things. I'm not saying it should be IT. But there should be more accountability than there is now."...

              She [Nickolaus] presented information from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission that said voting systems should never be connected to a network not under the election official's control.

              "Waukesha County to audit election equipment"

              There's more useful detail -- I'm trying to respect fair use.

              Notice that Nickolaus and Cummings to some extent were talking past each other. It isn't inherently suspicious that she didn't want to put the data on the county network -- but that doesn't mean that she handled the situation well.

              More in a bit.

            •  continuing... (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not sure what it is you think makes no sense. I don't think it is very hard to understand why an office manager might be willing to give several employees access to data on a computer, but unwilling to put the data on a multi-office network.

              One of the recommendations from the audit, which Nickolaus resisted, was that she "stop using the same ID and password for three employees." Excellent recommendation. I can empathize with Nickolaus's response, which was basically: gee, it's a big hassle to have to log on every time we switch computers. That's a very common attitude: "security is to protect Us from Them, not from ourselves!" But of course experience has shown that a trusted-tribe approach to security can fail miserably.

          •  oh, peace out (1+ / 0-)
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            A "challenge" based on substantive questions (even if some of them may feel rhetorical) and requests for supporting documentation is generally what DKos needs more of, don't you think?

          •  Dolly--- (0+ / 0-)

            Well, I certainly learned more about this, which is always a positive thing in my mind.  

            But I doubt most people in Wisconsin have followed this to the degree you, me, and others here have---and even so, I don't get to every diary on it here.  As you pointed out.  Rather rudely.

            My original post was to offer a different POV from yours.  You said it's all about human error, I said the bigger picture is it's all about trust.  And that since 2000 the trust in our election systems has soured in this country on many levels.

            Without drowning in the details, it's clear that right up to the top, there were questions as to how this was handled by Nickolaus, and her poor past record didn't help.  Questions of fraud are only part of it, questions regarding competency and systemic problems are also fair game.  In the words of the Director of Administration "it is not a good idea to have one person in charge of everything. There should be someone who also reviews things."

            I agree, you are knowledgeable about the details.  But imo, you're missing the larger point, telescoping it down to human error.  I said that the recount was needed to rebuild trust.  You never answered to that.  Don't feel the need now.  I don't want to get balled out again.

      •  That's not true (0+ / 0-)

        She was not tallying votes on a computer that no one else had access to - that was a false talking point that got debunked by me in about 20 different diaries on this site in the week after the election. If you don't know that, it's your failing, not mine.

        There were multiple computers in her office, and at minimum 3 people with password access in her office. The links to that info were provided in multiple diaries discussing the meetings that happened between her and the county officials  - again, if you weren't reading about the happenings when they were happening, so that you could have seen the links I repeatedly provided, then that's your failing, not mine.

        And yeah, there are plenty of links that you could find, and could have found 3 weeks ago if you'd wanted to, that discuss the issues she had with the county IT staff having direct access to election data and voting software.

        I know what I'm talking about. It's indisputable.

        And I know that there is not any vast evidence of election fraud. Again, I've posted multiple links in the past from reputable, non-controversial, impeccable sources and think tanks and studies that document that there's almost no evidence of any systemic election fraud going on - that almost all errors turn out to be human error.

        •  So why not let the county IT guys have access (0+ / 0-)

          to checking the data on the computers and making sure that whatever computers were being used to tally votes in her office, were kosher with regard to data management and storage?

          That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

          by concernedamerican on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 03:54:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  @DollyMadison (2+ / 0-)
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      Mr SeeMore, neroden

      ** ** ** WTF lower left hand corner of page KOS Media, LLC Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified

      by vet on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 07:15:16 PM PDT

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      •  They do have a similar writing style... (3+ / 0-)
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        vet, neroden, Free Jazz at High Noon

        LOL...Erik of RedHate posing as a female.

        Good catch vet.

        "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

        by Mr SeeMore on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 07:19:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, actually not (0+ / 0-)

          There are no similarities, actually. But thanks for showing that you can't refute a thing I wrote, and so all you had left in your arsenal was a baseless personal attack.

          The people "caught" here? You and Vet, that's who.

          Kathy Nickolaus' human error has nothing whatsoever to do with the human error by the election worker in Brookfield. They are totally unrelated. The fact that they both happened in Waukesha county is simply a coincidence. Making something out of a coincidence is the path that recklass people take.

      •  Yeah, you're full of it too (0+ / 0-)

        I simply defend the truth. Sometimes Republicans are unfairly attacked. Kathy Nickolaus made multiple errors. She was also unfairly attacked for things she didn't do wrong.

        See, thinking, intelligent liberals can acknowledge reality. Kneejerk conspiracy theorists can't - they see bad guys around every corner.

        That's your failing, not mine.

        •  You're possibly/probably right (1+ / 0-)
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          But I would like to know why the information was leaked to rightward blogs before the press conference. Further I'd like to know why she didn't tell the Democratic poll-worker about a game-changing error before they both appeared in the press conference together.

          OK, possibly not malicious. But... weird. At the very least really poor form.

          •  separable issues (1+ / 0-)
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            This thing about conservative blogs -- I haven't tried to fact-check the specifics (what blogs ran what, when?). But I think Nickolaus claims that she called the GAB on Wednesday to give a heads-up, so there is more than one possible source for the leak. I haven't tried to figure this out because it seems tangential to figuring out who won the election, but certainly it could influence what we think of Nickolaus.

            Further I'd like to know why she didn't tell the Democratic poll-worker about a game-changing error before they both appeared in the press conference together.

            Apparently she told her something, although it isn't clear exactly what: Here:
            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....

            Nickolaus may have assumed that it was only too obvious that adding the city of Brookfield to the totals would -- all else equal -- alter the statewide outcome.

            Regardless, I agree that it's at least really poor form.

            •  Re: "Conservative blogs" (1+ / 0-)
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              Here's an article from the "National Review Online" (called out specifically by the Klop camp in their request to have the county investigated.)

              The error, revealed today, would give incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser a net 7,381 votes against his challenger, attorney Joanne Kloppenburg.
              ...[T]he addition of the Brookfield votes for Prosser could push the justice’s lead beyond the legal threshold that would trigger an automatic recount. Under state law, Kloppenburg could still ask for a recount up to three days after the official canvass, but would have to pay for it herself.
              “Waukesha County officials have announced a press conference for 5:30 CST.”

              The article has a timestamp 5:29 EST (4:29 CST), over an hour before the presser.

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