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Wisconsin's April, 2011 election for state Supreme Court Justice ended in a virtual tie. The challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg, filed for a recount and also filed a complaint against Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus. Nickolaus "forgot to save" 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield on election night. Two days later, she informed her county canvass board of the error 15 minutes before holding a press conference. The found votes moved the incumbent, David Prosser, from loser to winner.

The recount uncovered numerous instances of unsealed ballot bags, unmatched ballot bag certificates, unsigned inspection reports, "lost" ballots being found, mathematical errors, and uneven application of election laws due to poorly trained clerks and poll workers. Despite these "anomalies", the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) certified the results of the recount and declared Prosser the winner.

The election is over, but the formal complaint against the bizzare Nickolaus lingers on. Kloppenburg's campaign manager, Melissa Mulliken, recently stated that she has been notified by Madison attorney Tim Verhoff that he is investigating the outstanding complaint against Nickolaus.

Verhoff is a criminal defense lawyer and a former Dane County deputy district attorney. Neither he nor the GAB are answering questions about the complaint due to confidentiality restrictions. This is from the GAB's general web site regarding those restrictions:

Members and staff of the Government Accountability Board are subject to strict confidentiality provisions related to investigations or prosecution of violations under the Board’s jurisdiction.  See Section 12.13(5).

Except as permitted by law and as necessary to communicate with law enforcement, no Board member, employee, or investigator may disclose information related to a Board investigation or prosecution.  

Violations of this confidentiality requirement are subject to maximum penalties of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of three years, six months.  See Section 12.60(1)(bm).

You can read the original complaint and the supporting documents (both are pdf documents) at uppitywis.org. In the cover letter, Kloppenburg's lawyers urge the appointment of a special prosecutor due to the cozy relationship between the GAB and Wisconsin's municipal clerks. Apparently, that request has been honored with the appointment of Verhoff.

Meanwhile, back in Waukesha, Kathy Nickolaus is showing off her selection of a new style of ballot bags to replace the flimsy plastic sacks used by her county since 1980. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

She said the bags are made of tougher plastic and are comparable to bags used by banks, with an adhesive tape closing that would reveal signs of tampering....During the statewide recount this spring, in which Justice David Prosser's win over Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg was affirmed by a 7,004-vote margin, poorly sealed ballot bags were a common problem. Some saw the gaps as evidence of potential tampering; others said it only showed that poll workers had difficulty cinching overstuffed bags with plastic straps.

Of course, we all trust Kathy Nickolaus, right? Apparently the GAB still does:

Reid Magney, spokesman for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, said Tuesday that county clerks are free to buy whatever election supplies they need. However, he said the items must conform to security standards set by the board and its Election Administration Council, which advises local clerks on, among other things, which ballot containers to buy.

Nickolaus said the bags meet state security requirements.

Magney said the council has not met recently or reviewed the particular bags that Nickolaus said she'll use, and it may not do so.

Perfect. Nickolaus is perhaps the least qualified, the least competent, and the most partisan "non-partisan" clerk in Wisconsin history, but if she says the new bags are secure and meet state requirements, let's just take her at her word. The GAB recognizes their own conflict of interest in investigating the recent Supreme Court election, but they haven't learned a damned thing about cleaning things up for future elections.

No wonder guys like me are simply not recognizing the current Fitzwalkerstan cult regime as legitimate. Voter suppression, gerrymandering, violations of open meetings and open records laws - we got it all - and the official election watchdog not only has no teeth, it loves to roll over and play dead. Sheesh.

Originally posted to Giles Goat Boy on Thu Jul 14, 2011 at 07:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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