‘Human error’ gives Justice Prosser big lead in Wis. vote

Justice David Prosser

An apparent inputting error discovered in one Wisconsin county has resulted in Supreme Court Justice David Prosser gaining a 7,582-vote lead over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, who Wednesday was unofficially ahead by 204 votes.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus apologized today for error, explaining how 14,000 votes were not reported to the Associated Press, the unofficial source for election results. She explained that she had imported vote totals transmitted by the city of Brookfield but apparently had not saved the data. The mistake was caught during the vote canvass.

She said the mistake occurred on the “day-to-day system” she uses in her office and has “nothing to do with the election software or system at all,” the Wisconsin State Journal says.

“The purpose of the canvass is to catch these kind of mistakes,” Nickolaus said, calling it “common in this process.”

“This is not a case of extra votes or extra ballots being found,” Nickolaus said. “This is human error, which I apologize for.”

Prosser and Kloppenburg, an assistant state attorney general, each gained and lost votes during the day’s review. But nothing came close to the reversal of fortune in Waukesha, which could prove to be decisive.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and WisPolitics have more on the day’s stunning turnaround.

Nickolaus has been at center of two other election-related cases, the AP notes.

Last year, county officials raised objections to her practice of storing election data off the county’s computer network, instead keeping it on computers in her office, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The practice prevented the county’s information technology specialists from verifying that the system was secure from failing, the county’s director of administration said at the time. Auditors later recommended that Nickolaus improve security and backup procedures.

In 2001, Nickolaus was granted immunity to testify about her role as a computer analyst for the Assembly Republican Caucus, then under investigation – along with the Senate Republican Caucus and the Democratic caucuses for both houses – for using state resources to secretly run campaigns.


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