Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why Kathy Nickolaus Should Go

I do not think that there can be a reliable, believable election in Wisconsin until the Waukesha County Clerk, Kathy Nickolaus, steps down.

Waukesha is a big, growing county, and is pivotal during elections in a state so closely divided red/blue.

Nickolaus has more than once managed elections where tallies are flawed; an incorrect primary winner was named in 2006 [I have edited the preceding clauses to separate out the 2006 matter and distinguish It from the Supreme Court counting error that contributed to the initial statewide result showing Kloppenburg on top], and it has been established that she runs an operation so opaque that election data is stored on personal, password-protected computers.

Whether it has happened or not, the impression is there that she could tinker with voting data like Oz behind the curtain.

Nickolaus has offered explanations for the Supreme Court balloting fiasco, and for earlier bad-data, wrong-reporting episodes, but we still do not have a verified explanation by independent analysts of what actually took place, or an explanation for the long delay in notifying state election officials, or an accounting of whom she talked to before going public.

A breach of confidence in election processes is fatal until explained fully, then corrected.

Nickolaus is an elected official, and she can be replaced through a recall election or by a vote of the County Board.  [Note: the information about the County board's removal power is an update.]

Her resignation would be a strong signal that the mess in Waukesha County can be addressed and will not be repeated either ther or in any Wisconsin county.


mimi torchia boothby watercolors said...

I agree with you. How can she be removed?

John P said...

As a conservative, who disagrees with you on most things, I 100% agree with you on this!!

Anonymous said...

Amen. And her elected replacement should not have obvious or strong ties to either party. Patricia Madden was the County Clerk for many, many many years and there were no problems that I recall. In fact, few folks even knew she was Clerk because the elections were about the elections and not about HER!

James Rowen said...

It would take a recall election to remove her, which would be a justifiable exercise, but one truly wasteful of resources given that she has the power herself to make a change happen.

Reagan's Disciple said...

I would like to challenge your suggestion of "Nickolaus has more than once managed elections where the tallies are flawed and winners incorrectly named,"

First, most clerks have managed elections where the tallies are flawed. It is part of the procss, thus the election night term "unofficial vote count."

What Nickolaus can not control is Kloppenberg going out and making an utter fool of herself while at the same time getting her liberal and union friends excited about her "victory" based on a 200 vote lead based on an unofficial vote count.

So I hope your not counting Kloppenberg's claiming victory based on an unofficial count as being one of those "winners incorrectly named." Even so, when was the second instance? I'm not trying to be threatening, but this almost sounds a little libelous to me, and I don't even pretend to be an attorney. (too many bad jokes about that profession)

Could you please provide the evidence of where/when the second election winner was incorrectly named?

Actually, even evidence of the first election where an incorrect winner was named would be nice. I don't believe the AP ever called the race one way or the other. It was Kloppengerg who foolishly claimed victory, she was never named the winner by anyone but herself.

Anonymous said...

I wrote to both Kohl and Johnson asking them to support Tammy Baldwin's request to the Justice Department for a federal investigation of the elections in Waukesha County. That is only way this will ever be resolved.

James Rowen said...

To Reagan's Disciple: It was reported at the time, and oft-reported again more recently, that in a 2006 legislative primary, Nickolaus declared the wrong winner because of a data error.

I had reprinted the Journal Sentinel's coverage, here - - http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/2011/04/2006-waukesha-county-election-flaws.html

Reagan's Disciple said...

You listed one example, now where is the second example you referred.

I hope you were not erroneously referring to the SC race because nobody named a winner in that race, Not even the AP. Why would they as it was still an unofficial vote count?

The only person who claimed victory (foolishly, yet still very humorous) was Kloppenberg herself. This is hardly what I would consider as a "Winner incorrectly named." in a race.

In the end, the process worked, an error was caught and the final vote totals were reported correctly to the state. Thus the term "Official" vote.

In the future I would recommend everyone wait for that official count, not simply the word of an uninformed candidate.

James Rowen said...

I have edited and, and so acknowledged in the text, a better description of the 2006 and 2011 counting errors.

Reagan's Disciple said...


Thanks for the edit and fair journalism ;)

Anonymous said...

Let's remove every county clerk that makes a mistake. We must have fair and accurate elections!