An observer for Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg objected Thursday to the security of bags holding Supreme Court ballots from the City of Brookfield because of a gap opening on the ballot bags.
They’ve raised similar objections four or five times in Waukesha County since the start of the recount, said retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Mawdsley, who’s overseeing the county recount. In an interview, he agreed with objector Bill Hotz’s observation that the bag opening from Brookfield was the largest seen so far.
Hotz said poorly sealed bags or torn bags appear to be a common problem, but they were evident on five of six Brookfield bags that were counted first thing Thursday. He objected to the counting of those ballots where bags appeared to be open.
Brandon O’Bryon, representing Justice David Prosser, objected to the objection, saying Brookfield voters would be disenfranchised if their votes weren’t counted.
As has been the practice from the start, Mawdsley makes a record of the concerns and each objection should a challenge end up in court.
“There are several bags that appear to be improperly sealed,” Mawdsley said for the record. Kloppenburg’s campaign representatives took pictures of the bags in question. The Board of Canvassers agreed to count the votes, which can be identified separately if necessary.
Brookfield City Clerk Kristine Schmidt said that bags filled with too many ballots tend to tear when they’re picked up. She also said that on bags that she personally seals, she threads the seal through additional holes she makes in the bags so they can be pulled tightly shut and stay that way. Not every poll worker does that, and when the bags are lifted, a gap can open up.
She also testified, “I guarantee you these ballots were put in (a vault in her office) and not tampered with until they left city hall.” She said a highway worker took the ballots to the courthouse the day after the election.