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.
On Tuesday, Vrakas responded to complaints that Nickolaus was running the election: “It’s absolutely not true. She agreed to step aside and hand off her duties to Kelly (Yaeger), and that has occurred.” Meanwhile, an observer with the Democratic Party, Jordan Primakow, said Nickolaus was being cooperative as he sat in her reception area, where he arrived at 7:30 a.m. He called the morning fairly quiet, with scattered reports of problems relayed by Nickolaus to him, including a jammed machine in Oconomowoc that was quickly replaced. He said only Nickolaus approached him with updates, not Yaeger.
Nickolaus drew criticism last year during a tight state Supreme Court race when she announced nearly two days after the election that she failed to include 14,000 votes from Brookfield in her unofficial totals. The error helped lead to a statewide, taxpayer-financed recount and flipped what appeared to be a close loss for Justice David Prosser to a 7,000-vote victory.
Full Article: Nickolaus’ recall role in question – JSOnline