Kathy Nickolaus, Waukesha County clerk and part-owner of Musky Mike's Bait Shop, screwed up another vote count after Tuesday's Wisconsin presidential primary and local elections. This time, even the conservative-leaning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is calling for her resignation. (Democrats and others were calling for her to step down last year after she reported an extra 14,000 votes two days after the state Supreme Court election. Those votes swung the election, giving incumbent justice David "the choker" Prosser a narrow victory over JoAnne Kloppenburg.)
From the Journal Sentinel editorial:
The elections at stake between now and when she leaves office - assuming she loses her own re-election campaign in the fall - are just too important to leave in Nickolaus' hands. They include not only the gubernatorial recall but local and state elections as well as a presidential campaign in the fall. A presidential election, by the way, that also could be razor close in Wisconsin.
Her massive failure last year - she "forgot to save" the votes from the city of Brookfield and then kept her mistake hidden for two days - resulted in a recount that exposed even more incompetence and caused sleep deprivation for yours truly trying to document it all.
This time, she claims that she and her staff were shocked to discover Tuesday evening that vote totals from the municipalities would not upload correctly into her super-secret, ultra-customized vote-a-matic software. (I think it's an Excel spreadsheet, but I could be wrong.)
Once again, the rest of Wisconsin waited for Waukesha County's election results. And waited. And waited.
Nickolaus and her staff ending up entering the individual totals manually, then cross-checking the results by adding up the numbers on paper tapes from the voting machines. The paper printouts were taped all over the the walls of Nickolaus's office. Go here to see the photo. Results were not posted until after 2:00 a.m. Wednesday, hours after the rest of the state's counties had reported their numbers.
Nickolaus brushed off criticism of the glitch and used it as an opportunity to brag about her work ethic. "What it does say is that I'm willing to stay and get the job done. That's exactly what I did."
Wisconsin's county clerks are elected positions, so Kathy Nickolaus cannot be fired. She is up for re-election later this year. If she runs, she will face opposition in the Republican primary.
On a good note Tuesday, JoAnne Kloppenburg won an open seat on Wisconsin's 4th District Court of Appeals (one step below the state Supreme Court.) A virtual unknown when she challenged David Prosser, Kloppenburg now has unusually high name recognition in Wisconsin due to last year's controversial Supreme Court election. She ran unopposed for the Appeals Court seat, and Waukesha County is not in the 4th District Court of Appeals, so Kathy Nickolaus had no opportunity to keep Kloppenburg off the bench this time.
UPDATE Thursday, April 5 2012, 8:30 PM CDT
Hat tip to Bcre8ve in the comments. Just announced that Nickolaus will "resign", but only from administering elections. She will stay on the job and I presume do things like register voters, issue dog licenses, etc. Per the Journal Sentinel:
Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas said he would publicly call for County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus' resignation unless she handed off her election duties in the upcoming recalls to her deputy clerk.
Nickolaus chose the latter. She agreed to allow outside consultants and county staff to work with her deputy, Kelly Yaeger, to handle the election, Vrakas said.