In a dramatic turn of events on Thursday, the Waukesha County clerk announced that the vote total announced for Tuesday’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race had been mistaken — and that the corrected numbers changed the outcome of the entire election. There were 3,456 missing votes for Democratic-backed challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg and 11,059 for incumbent GOP-backed Justice David Prosser. Kloppenburg has previously been beating Prosser by just 200 votes of the roughly 1.5 million cast statewide. The new total puts Prosser on a significant path to victory, about 7,500 votes ahead of Kloppenburg. Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced the news in a press conference at 5:30 p.m. local time, sounding nervous and, at times, on the verge of tears. She insisted that there was no foul play in the results and blamed the mess on her own “human error.” Nickolaus cited several reasons for the discrepancies between Tuesday night’s unofficial vote totals and the new numbers. In the city of New Berlin, the total for one ward was recorded as 37 votes for Prosser, but it was actually 237, she said. In the town of Lisbon, a “typing error” resulted in both candidates losing votes. The most significant error, however, occurred in the city of Brookfield. “The spreadsheet from Brookfield was imported into a database that was provided by the Government Accountability Board, but it inadvertently was not saved,” Nickolaus said. “As a result, when I ran the report to show the aggregate numbers that were collected from all the municipalities, I assumed that the city of Brookfield was included. It was not. The city of Brookfield cast 14,315 votes on April 5 — 10,859 votes went for Justice David Prosser, 3,456 went for JoAnne Kloppenburg.” “It is important to stress that this is not a case of extra votes or extra ballots being found,” she added. “This is human error, which I apologize for — which is common in this process.” Full Article
Democrats’ legal challenge to the election of Secretary of State Charlie White is valid, a judge ruled Thursday, and he sent it back to the Indiana Recount Commission to be resolved. Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg said the commission’s interpretation of the law when it dismissed questions of White’s eligibility would “undermine a key purpose of (the law): preventing fraud.” Bradley Skolnik, the state’s recount director, said it’s too early to say whether the commission will appeal Rosenberg’s ruling. Democrats filed suit in December after the commission voted along party lines to dismiss their allegations that White, who was registered at an old address when he filed his candidacy, was not eligible to run in November’s election. The Democrats said their claim shouldn’t have been dismissed because a state law that requires candidates for secretary of state to be registered to vote means they must be registered legally. The commission argued the law doesn’t say candidates have to be registered “legally,” but Rosenberg sided with the Democrats. Full Article
Ohio’s elections chief said yesterday that “there is a better way” in reference to a controversial Ohio House bill that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted is proposing election reforms as an alternative to the GOP-backed House Bill 159, which would require that anyone voting at the polls bring a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued identification card that shows the person’s current address and contains a photo. Husted’s proposals, which deal with voting procedures for absentee and provisional ballots and will soon be taken up in both chambers of the General Assembly, do not affect current Election Day procedures. As of now, voters can prove who they are with a photo ID, a current utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck or a government document with a current name and address. “I believe that if you have a government-issued check, a utility bill in your name with your address on it, that no one made that up,” Husted said to reporters following a speech to the League of Women Voters of Ohio. Read More
The Hampden Board of Selectmen has voted unanimously not to seek funding from Town Meeting to purchase voting machines this year. Selectmen’s Chairman John D. Flynn said a study committee, with Registrar Arthur Booth as a member, recommended against seeking funds from Town Meeting to purchase voting machines this year. Booth said he did not believe the town would have excess funds to purchase a voting machine in the fiscal 2012 budget. Voting machines cost between $10,000 and $12,000. The town has one voting precinct and would need one or two machines. Following the state primary last September, Selectman Vincent Villamaino complained that he waited until nearly midnight for voting results before giving up. At a selectman’s meeting last fall, James Gillen, a town resident and former city editor at The Republican, said the town follows an antiquated process in counting votes by hand. Gillen said the newspaper frequently waited until midnight, 1 or 2 a.m. for election results. Town Clerk Eva A. Wiseman said the only complaints she has received about the late results are from the media. Flynn and Booth both said it is part of the town’s tradition to count the votes by hand. Read More
Voters may have to buck their routines in the 2012 election after Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday signed election-related measures that could significantly alter Election Day procedures in some counties. Counties will now have the option of consolidating staff — and precincts — into large “voting centers.” The centers will operate much like early voting sites, allowing people to vote at any of the voting centers regardless of where they live in the county. On the flip side, many voters will no longer have the option of voting at their traditional precincts, usually at a local school, if their county chooses the voting center option in 2012. County clerks pushed for the legislation earlier this year, calling it a more efficient voting system that will save taxpayer dollars. “We worked very hard to get this legislation passed because it will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in manpower and supplies,” Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver said Thursday. “My staff will be concentrating on a voter education campaign to help residents understand how this change will impact them.” Some critics are concerned that the voting centers will undermine traditional democratic practices such as precinct boards, which they say act as a check on the power of county clerks. Read More
Several of the bills coming up in the General Assembly deal with elections, and we’ve learned several will be heard in the House Judiciary next week. April 13th will be “Elections Day” in the House Judiciary Committee, with an inventory of no less than a dozen bills dealing with how, when and what happens when Rhode Islanders go to the polls in 2012 and beyond. Tiverton Democrat John Edwards has legislation that would require town financial meetings to comply with all of the state election laws, currently they are exempt. South Kingston Democrat Don Lally and Pawtucket Democrat Paddy O’Neill both have bills that would close polls in Rhode Island at 8:00 p.m. rather than 9:00 p.m. I can tell you from experience, the polls are pretty quiet places from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Lastly; Bristol Democrat Raymond Gallison has legislation that he’s introduced on behalf of Secretary of State Ralph Mollis that would make it easier for service men and women to vote by absentee ballot as well. Read More
When Kathy Nickolaus, the county clerk in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, spoke to the press on Thursday after revealing that she had failed to count more than 14,000 ballots in the hotly contested state supreme court election, one might have expected her to offer her resignation. Instead, Ms. Nickolaus blamed “human error” for the problem, which resulted in the failure to tally any votes from the city of Brookfield, which accounts for about 11 percent of her county’s voters. Most of the 14,315 uncounted votes were cast for the more conservative candidate, David Prosser. As a result, Mr. Prosser — who had been about 200 ballots behind JoAnne Kloppenburg in a contest that seemed bound for a recount — had a net gain of more than 7,500 votes, and now has an overall lead of about that size. Although the election may still go to a recount, it is now highly unlikely that the outcome will change, unless another county discovers a discrepancy of the same magnitude, but in Ms. Kloppenburg’s favor. The human who made the error was none other than Ms. Nickolaus, who said she had failed to save a computer file after entering Brookfield’s results. It is hard to excuse the mistake, which was of a considerably larger magnitude than anything that happened in an individual county during the controversial recounts in Florida or Minnesota. There are, of course, suggestions in some liberal-leaning blogs that Ms. Nickolaus (who has worked for Republicans in the past) is attempting to steal the election. But a look at the turnout estimates in Waukesha County, before and after the problem was corrected, suggest that her mistake was probably an honest one. The original turnout figure was somewhat lower than what might have been expected statistically, and the revised one is more in line with reasonable expectations. Read More
In a stunning development that instantly changed the race for the state Supreme Court, a county clerk’s error on election night added 7,582 votes for incumbent Justice David Prosser over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. The additional votes almost certainly will give Prosser the victory in the heated race for the high court. As of early afternoon Thursday, Kloppenburg had been ahead in the race, according to totals compiled by the Associated Press. The additional votes for Prosser were found after it was determined that all the votes for the City of Brookfield were not included in the initial counts that the county provided to the Associated Press, which has been maintaining a statewide tally of votes. The revised Waukesha County figures show Prosser with 11,008 more votes than were initially recorded for him, while Kloppenburg picked up 3,426 more votes. The net result is an additional 7,582 votes for Prosser. Earlier Thursday, unofficial results compiled by the Associated Press had Kloppenburg winning by 244 votes. Kloppenburg issued a statement Thursday evening saying she will be requesting all relevant records surrounding the snafu.”Wisconsin voters as well as the Kloppenburg for Justice Campaign deserve a full explanation of how and why these 14,000 votes from an entire City were missed,” the statement said. “We are confident that election officials in Waukesha County will fulfill these requests as quickly as possible so that both our campaign and the people of Wisconsin can fully understand what happened and why,” Kloppenburg said. “Just as Assistant Attorney General Kloppenburg has run to restore confidence in the court, Wisconsin residents also deserve to have full confidence in election results.” Prosser said he was “encouraged” by the changing vote totals. Read More
Suppose the Democratic governor of Illinois had proposed radical changes in how the state operates, and suppose anger over those proposed changes inspired a popular uprising that filled the streets of every city, village and town in the state with protests. Then, suppose there was an election that would decide whether allies of the governor controlled the state’s highest court. Suppose the results of that election showed that an independent candidate who would not be in the governor’s pocket narrowly won that election. Then, suppose it was announced by a Democratic election official in Chicago that she had found 14,000 votes in a machine-controlled ward that overwhelmingly favored the candidate aligned with the Democratic governor. And suppose the Democratic official who “found” the needed ballots for the candidate favored by the Democratic governor had previously been accused of removing election data from official computers and hiding the information on a personal computer, that the official’s actions had been censured even by fellow Democrats and that she her secretive and erratic activities had been the subject of an official audit demanded by the leadership of the Cook County Board. Now, suppose that the number of additional votes tabulated for the governor’s candidate was precisely the amount needed to prevent the independent candidate from demanding an official recount. Would even the most naive Illinoisan suggest that the new count should simply be accepted as “legitimate” or that the governor’s candidate should suddenly be presumed to have been “elected”? Of course not.
Wisconsinites should respond with equal skepticism to the news that Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, a former Republican legislative staffer who worked for Prosser when he served as Assembly Speaker and with Walker when he was a GOP rising star, has found all the votes that justice needs to secure his reelection and that the governor needs to claim a “win” for his agenda. The clerk, who has a history of secretive and erratic handling of election results, says she forgot to count the votes of Brookfield, the county’s second-largest city, in the total for Tuesday’s Supreme Court election. Nickolaus claims that it was “human error” that caused her to “lose” the Brookfield results on her personal computer where she had secreted away the data. Yet, she apparently knew of the “mistake” for 29 hours before reporting it and then handed the information off to conservative bloggers and talk-radio personalities. Read More
The Ghanaian government announced here on Thursday that it would support the electoral commission to develop a biometric voter register in order to lay a strong foundation for e-voting in the country. The government said that the e-voting system would eliminate the incidence of multiple registrations, multiple voting and other kinds of electoral fraud in elections. Opening a two-day Microsoft Open Door Conference for West Africa here, Minister for Communications Haruna Iddrissu said the government wanted to ensure that there were credible elections in Ghana. Read More
A constitutional petition was filed on Thursday in the Supreme Court, seeking direction to the Election Commission (EC) to introduce electronic voting machines in the future general elections. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan filed the petition under Article 184(3), making the EC, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), and the Federation of Pakistan through the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry secretary respondents. The petition filed through Advocate Hamid Khan further prayed to direct the EC to prepare fresh electoral rolls, eliminating all bogus votes, and introducing and incorporating the new eligible voters that can be verified from the database and record of Nadra. The petitioner further prayed that the EC be directed to prepare the electoral rolls in a manner that should include the name of voter in such electoral area wherein his address mentioned on the CNIC of the voter exists. Imran Khan further prayed that the commission be directed to include the photographs of the voters in its electoral rolls in the future elections. The petitioner questioned whether bogus and inaccurate electoral rolls would destroy the very basic fundamental right of a citizen in a constitutional democracy to elect his representative. Read More
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