National: Twitter and other social media will make the next close presidential election much worse than Florida in 2000 | Slate Magazine

The tweets were full of rage. As officials began to tally the results of the tight ballots, many voters suspected fraud. After all, there had been allegations of election misconduct before, as well as lost-and-found votes. Trust in government officials didn’t run high. By late in the evening, one opposition party leader came forward, accusing a local election official of “tampering with the results.” Fears of a political backlash rose. Soon there were even suggestions of violence. The scene wasn’t the site of some Arab Spring-inspired revolution. It was Wisconsin in August 2011. Wisconsin residents had just voted on whether to recall a number of state senators, with the potential to flip the legislative body from Republican to Democratic hands. The vote totals were rolling in from polling places across the state, and I was following the reaction of hundreds of political junkies tweeting about the results using the hashtag #wirecall. That evening provides a window into what the world could look like should we be unlucky enough to have our next presidential election as close as the 2000 presidential election. Wisconsin could be our future, and it’s not a pretty picture.

Wisconsin: Investigating, fixing Nickolaus election errors to cost Wisconsin county $256,300 | JSOnline

A consultant’s report traces problems in reporting Waukesha County election results directly to mistakes by outgoing County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus – mistakes that will cost county taxpayers more than a quarter of a million dollars to fix. Nickolaus had promised to post timely results online and update them periodically for the April 3 election. But the public didn’t learn the results of contested local races for hours, while reporters and election reporting service representatives were forced to tabulate the vote totals themselves from long paper tapes hanging on the walls of a meeting room. The embattled county clerk already was under scrutiny because of her role in the 2011 state Supreme Court race, when she left the entire city of Brookfield out of countywide vote totals. When those 14,000 votes were added in, two days after the election, Justice David Prosser had won by 7,000 votes, instead of narrowly losing to Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, as the original count showed. But the uncertainty over the Waukesha County vote led to a statewide recount that confirmed Prosser’s victory.

Wisconsin: Who’s running the election in Waukesha County? Nickolaus’ recall role in question | Journal Sentinel

While Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas and his chief of staff insisted Tuesday that County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus was not the one in charge of election duties for the recall election, she appeared to be at the helm. Nickolaus refused to respond to questions in her office, turning her back and closing her office door while a reporter waited at a service counter. Her deputy, Kelly Yaeger, didn’t respond, either. Nickolaus was observed passing out election supplies to local clerks leading up to Tuesday’s election, and she’s the one who fielded questions Tuesday from the field, said Gina Kozlik, Waukesha’s deputy clerk-treasurer. Shawn Lundie, Vrakas’ chief of staff, said he was confident procedures put in place with Yaeger would ensure smooth reporting of votes Tuesday night. Vote counting in the county clerk’s office appeared to go smoothly – an assessment confirmed by Lundie. About 80% of the vote was reported by about 10 p.m.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Walker recall: Democrats prep for recall recount | Politico.com

Brace yourself: Wisconsin Democrats say they are preparing for the event that the hotly contested recall race could drag on for weeks, or even longer. Floating the prospect of a recount is, of course, a message that bolsters the party’s claims that the race is closer than people think and that it will go down to the wire — despite polls showing Walker with the lead. Yet there’s reason a recount can’t be so easily dismissed. Walker can’t seem to break his 50 percent ceiling of support among Wisconsin voters. His ballot support has hovered at either 50 percent or 49 percent in 12 of the 14 polls released since early May, and recent polls show the race tightening in the final stretch. “We’re very much anticipating that there’s a chance that we could be in a recount scenario,” said Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He said the party will have more than 440 lawyers in the field on Tuesday “doing election protection activities but also tasked with recount preparation, making sure that we know where absentee ballots are at, making sure that we have a strong handle on what’s happening out there.”

Wisconsin: Second statewide recount may decide Tuesday’s Wisconsin recall election | GazetteXtra

It’s the other “R” word in this historic year of Wisconsin politics: Recount. If recall election vote totals between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett are within a 0.5 percent margin, a free recount can be requested. The apparent loser can ask for a statewide recount, or recounts only in specific counties. Most polls give Walker margins-of-error leads over Barrett, whose supporters say their own surveys show the race is tied. With only 2 percent or 3 percent of poll respondents saying they are undecided, a recount is possible. We’ve seen this recount movie before. Only 13 months ago.

Wisconsin: Waukesha County’s Election-Count Meltdown Raises Concerns For Recall | The Nation

Waukesha County, Wisconsin, has for more than a year been ground zero for the national debate about the mismanagement of elections by partisan officials. While there is very little evidence of supposed voter fraud in America, there are instances where officials who are in charge of elections mangle the process of counting votes—either intentionally or unintentionally—to such an extent that they raise real concerns about the legitimacy of the process. And Waukesha County, the third most populated county in the states and the center of a populous Republican-leaning region that is at the heart of the vote-rich suburban tracts surrounding Milwaukee, has become a focus for those concerns. Now, Waukesha County is back in the headlines after a new vote-counting controversy that has led to calls for the removal of scandal-plagued County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.

Voting Blogs: The War for Wisconsin: As Photo ID Restrictions Hit Constitutional Roadblock, Hard Right Files 29 ‘Ethics Complaints’ | BradBlog

In Wisconsin, two Dane County Circuit Court judges, David Flanagan and Richard Niess both issued injunctions against the state GOP’s polling place photo ID restriction (“Act 23”) — Flanagan’s temporary, Niess’ permanent — after finding that the law was in direct violation of the WI state constitution’s guaranteed right to vote. Immediately after the first of those two injunctions, issued by Judge Flanagan in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker, the WI GOP filed an ethics complaint with the WI Judicial Commission, alleging that the judge had violated the WI Code of Judicial Conduct because he had signed a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) and failed to disclose that fact before issuing his ruling. However, when Flanagan’s temporary injunction was promptly followed not only by Neiss’ permanent injunction one week later, but by a subsequent refusal by an intermediate WI appellate court to stay the temporary injunction, the hard-right, operating under another right-wing billionaire front group, the Landmark Legal Foundation, filed ethics complaints against 29 WI judges who also signed recall petitions. If you can’t beat ’em, hit ’em with ethics violations complaints…

Wisconsin: Waukesha County Clerk feels exonerated in election flub | Green Bay Press Gazette

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said last week she believes she has been exonerated even though her office is undertaking numerous changes in how it handles ballots following the nonreporting of 14,000 votes in the spring Supreme Court election. State investigators in September determined that Nickolaus likely broke the law by not reporting the votes in the hotly contested race between Justice David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, but her conduct was unintentional and not criminal.

… The Government Accountability Board on Tuesday approved numerous changes designed to improve the procedures used by Nickolaus’s office on election night. Both before the meeting and during a break, Nickolaus told reporters that the investigative report vindicated her handling of the votes.

“I’ve been exonerated,” she said. Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy disagreed. “I would not characterize it that way,” Kennedy said. The September report, led by former Dane County prosecutor Timothy Verhoff, found that Nickolaus likely broke state law requiring the posting of all returns on election night.

Voting Blogs: Political Hurdles for League of Women Voters’ State Constitutional Challenge to Wisconsin Photo ID Law | The Brad Blog

The League of Women Voters in Wisconsin announced it will file a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court charging that the Badger State’s newly-enacted polling place photo ID restriction law violates the state’s Constitution. From a strictly legal perspective, the decision by the League’s attorney Lester Pines to challenge the new photo ID law pursuant to the state’s Constitution is significant.

Under Equal Protection analysis, any impartial jurist would readily understand that the statute does not meet the heightened scrutiny that accompanies the fact that, under the WI Constitution, voting is deemed a “fundamental right.”

Wisconsin: Waukesha County clerk Nickolaus plans to use more secure ballot bags | JSOnline

After poorly sealed and torn ballot bags became one source of concern during the recent Supreme Court recount, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus plans to introduce new, more secure bags.

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. Ballots from individual polling places are bagged after they’re counted on election night and stored either at municipal halls or with the county clerk until results are final and uncontested.

Wisconsin: Challenger in Wisconsin court race concedes | chicagotribune.com

Wisconsin Supreme Court challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg conceded defeat on Tuesday to conservative incumbent Justice David Prosser, in a race that was widely seen as a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s divisive legislation stripping most state workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights.

Kloppenburg admitted defeat after a statewide recount reaffirmed Prosser’s victory over her in the April 5 election.

“David Prosser has won the election and I have congratulated him,” Kloppenburg said in a news conference in Madison. “I will not be requesting judicial review of the results of the recount.”

Voting Blogs: Kloppenburg Concedes Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Cites ‘Widespread Irregularities’, Says Problems Found During ‘Recount Should be Wake-Up Call’ | The Brad Blog

Citing a “cascade of irregularities”, thousands of tabulation errors discovered during the statewide “recount”, and tens of thousands of ballots found to be unverifiable or otherwise having been in violation of the secure chain of custody, Wisconsin’s independent Asst. AG JoAnne Kloppenburg conceded the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election for a 10-year term on the bench to Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser this afternoon at a press conference held in Madison.

“Over 150 ballot bags containing tens of thousands of votes were found open, unsealed or torn. Waukesha County had twice as many torn, open or unsealed bags as every other county in the state combined. In many cases, municipal clerks in Waukesha testified the bags weren’t torn when they left cities, towns and villages so the security breaches occurred sometime when the bags were in Waukesha County’s custody.”

Editorials: Supreme Court recount worthwhile? Our answer? Absolutely. | Appleton Post Crescent

The recount in the state Supreme Court race is done and, as expected, incumbent David Prosser is the winner over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. Prosser held a 7,316-vote lead heading into the recount and finished with a 7,006-vote lead.

So, the question is, was the recount worthwhile? Our answer? Absolutely.

On its face, the margin after the election — about a 7,000-vote victory with about 1.5 million votes case — was close enough to make a recount a legitimate request. But the extraordinary circumstances nearly demanded a recount.

Voting Blogs: State Election Board Failed to Review Minutes from Waukesha County ‘Recount’ Before Certifying Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Results | The Brad Blog

Last Monday, May 23rd, Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state’s top election agency, officially certified [PDF] the controversial results of the extraordinarily close April 5th statewide Supreme Court election and its subsequent “recount”.

However, as The BRAD BLOG has learned, the agency certified those results without reviewing hundreds of official exhibits documenting wholesale ballot irregularities, on-the-record objections from the attorneys of the candidate who filed for the “recount”, and thousands of pages of official transcripts and minutes documenting the entire “recount” process from the election’s most controversial county.

Wisconsin: Prosser wins recount in Wisconsin Supreme Court race – Kloppenburg weighs challenge | JSOnline

Certified vote totals, minutes and other details are available at the Government Accountability Board website. With the weeks-long recount complete, unofficial numbers confirm that state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser narrowly defeated Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg in the April 5 election. But the battle may not be over yet, as Kloppenburg mulls whether to challenge…

Wisconsin: Tale of the Tapes: Wisconsin’s ‘Dog-and-Pony Show’ Faith-Based Supreme Court Election ‘Recount’ | The Brad Blog

For weeks, we’ve been reporting on the mess seen in the statewide “recount” of Wisconsin’s very close and very contentious April 5th Supreme Court election between Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser and his challenger, Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg. As The BRAD BLOG obtained evidence of new irregularities this week — to add to previously…

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Supreme Court recount begins Wednesday, required to be done by May 9 | StarTribune.com

The recount in the state Supreme Court race will begin Wednesday and barring a court-ordered extension, must be finished by May 9. Wisconsin’s nonpartisan Government Accountability Board discussed the recount procedure Monday with local election officials from nearly all 72 counties. Given the rarity of a statewide recount, clerks on the conference call peppered board attorneys…

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Supreme Court challenger files for recount | POLITICO.com

Charging that voting “anomalies” were “widespread,” the liberal challenger in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race filed papers Wednesday afternoon requesting a recount in the close election that has her trailing a conservative incumbent by less than 0.5 percent. JoAnne Kloppenburg arrived at the state Government Accountability Board’s office in Madison barely an hour before the…

Wisconsin: Kloppenburg Files for Statewide ‘Recount’ in Wisconsin Supreme Court Election | The Brad Blog

Wisconsin’s Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg has filed paperwork for a statewide, state-sponsored “recount” in the controversial April 5th State Supreme Court election. She has also called for a special investigator be named to examine questions about election results in Waukesha County, where the County Clerk’s procedures have come under fire both before and since…

Wisconsin: Prosser Campaign Vows to Block a State-Sponsored ‘Recount’ in Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Debacle | The Brad Blog

Via Eric Kleefeld at TPM… “Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser held a press conference at the state Capitol on Monday, in which he declared victory in his reelection race — and at which his campaign advisers said they would object to any recount that might be requested by Prosser’s opponent, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne…

Voting Blogs: SaveOurVotes: Flawed Wisconsin Race Proves Need for Transparency, Accountability in Election Procedures

When Wisconsin voters flocked to the polls on April 5, one of the factors driving the high turnout was the State Supreme Court contest between incumbent Justice David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. Prosser, whose term ends July 31, often casts the deciding vote on the seven-member court. He is a conservative Republican former Speaker…