David Prosser

Tag Archive

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. Read More

Wisconsin: State Supreme Court Justice Prosser converts campaign account to legal defense fund | JSOnline

State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has re-christened his campaign finance account as a defense fund, which he said he is considering using to fight allegations that he violated judicial ethics rules by putting his hands on the neck of a fellow justice last year. The Government Accountability Board, which oversees the state’s ethics and elections law, approved Prosser’s plans earlier this year, the agency confirmed Monday. But others – including the former top lawyer for the accountability board – questioned its views on how the fund could be used. The defense fund could give Prosser a way to pay his legal bills without having to bear them personally. But his campaign account has just $1,145 in it and is already laden with a debt of about $229,000 from a recount last year.  In June 2011, a month after being declared the winner in the recount, Prosser got in an altercation with Justice Ann Walsh Bradley over when the court would release a 4-3 decision that upheld Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to greatly limit collective bargaining for most public workers. Bradley rushed toward Prosser in an attempt to get him out of her office, and he put his hands on her neck in what he said was a defensive reflex. Four of the five other justices witnessed the incident, and they have given sharply differing accounts of it. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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.” Read More

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. Read More

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. Nickolaus, a former legislative caucus aide who worked closely with Republican Governor Scott Walker and Supreme Court Justice David Prosser when both were members of the state Assembly, drew national attention last year when she was charged with organizing the count of ballots in Prosser’s race for reelection with challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. Prosser, Walker’s mentor in the legislature and closest ally on the high court, was threatened with defeat because anger over Walker’s anti-labor initiatives had translated into support for Kloppenburg, an assistant state Attorney General who had worked with Republican and Democratic attorneys general. Kloppenburg’s promise to serve as a jurist who was independent of Walker earned her broad support. On the morning after the election, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that, with all precincts reporting and all absentee ballots counted, Kloppenburg had won by 204 votes.

Read More

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… Read More

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. Read More

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.” Read More