Ok some news from the Kossacks favorite/un-favorite/most scrutinized county in Wisconsin. Everyone is trying to get a handle on what went down there with the sudden discovery of almost 15,000 votes that broke for Prosser by a net of just about 7500.
Now we could go to the MSM, pray to the producers of "60 Minutes", or simply wonder what happened.
But that's not good enough for these boards! We are KOSSACKS! We have reputation to uphold! We need to LEAD the MSM so this site continues to be like getting the newspaper a week early......even if we have to turn over every rock, turn up every beer glass or turn in to every Wisconsin tavern! (Usual ratio is 1 bar/100 residents. With a population well over 5 million, that's a LOT of drinking!)
Sooooo....between schooners and bites of your summer sausage here in spring we have some stuff just below the fold.
So on this lazy weekend after some Supreme Court election in Wisconsin and before Tax Day and Palm Sunday what do we know about life in Waukesha County? Well I thought I’d do a little digging while we are waiting for the lawyers to finish digging and maybe for the US Department of Justice to finish digging.
OLD Dumb stuff
The county seat (about 30-35 miles west of Milwaukee) found European types squatting on Potowatomi tribal turf in the mid-1830s. led by the Cutler family. The Cutlers seem like they were bored by the area’s flatness, so they called their place Prairieville.
About 10 years later admission to statehood was the hot issue and the new Germanic settlers said, “Ach du lieber! We can’t petition Congress for statehood mit a namen like Prairieville on our map. Those Southern grandees and Boston high nosers will think ve are hicks!”
So they went to the local Potowatomi people with gifts of beer, brats, cheese and a bag of pepper. They asked the tribal council what did they call the settlement “by the Fox River”? At this moment the translator, having never encountered the stuff before, stuck his nose in the bag of pepper to see what it was. He came out and said, “Waukesha!” The German settlers automatically said, “Gesundheit!” and changed the name on the map. It worked. Congress decided “Wishkonsing” was too sloppy so they settled on “Wisconsin” in May of 1848.
NEW Dumb stuff
I noted yesterday the latest wave of settlers in Waukesha county started arriving some 40 years ago. Well according to this blogpost these settlers got themselves socialist/lazy/over-paid government jobs and have just kept them. They just seem to like to keep their jobs and re-appoint each other (or even themselves) to the same socialist jobs.
Waukesha Power Players
Given that, County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus is just doing what comes naturally in Sneezeville. Commenter "We Won" cited this rather impressive list of County Clerk Capers as cited on Rachel Maddow
In 2004, she [Nickolaus] gave voters the wrong ballots and their votes were counted anyway.
In 2005, she gave newspapers sample ballots that were pre-marked with a vote for one of the candidates.
In 2006, her county was plagued with botched election problems; including having an entire city's data misreported - overturning a candidate's victory after it had been declared - just like this most recent election.
In 2007, the same thing happened again, and Mrs. Nickolaus found some "missing votes" that overturned another candidate's victory.
3 months ago Waukesha County audited her operation and recommended she improve her security and backup procedures. She did not.
And Zach at Blogging Blue fills us in on how even the Waukesha County officials felt about Ms. Nickolaus about 6 months ago!
Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said Nickolaus has been uncooperative with attempts to have information technologists review the system and confirm the backups.
He said he isn’t interested in placing the system on the county network, but he wants to know whether the system is functional and secure and whether the county will have to replace equipment and programs in the next budget year – in time for the next presidential election.
“It is not a good idea to have one person in charge of everything,” Cummings told the committee. “There should be someone who also reviews things. I’m not saying it should be IT. But there should be more accountability than there is now.”
Zach: Following the audit of her practices, Nickolaus came under fire from the Waukesha County Board of Supervisors (no bunch of liberals, to be sure), who didn’t appreciate her reaction to their concerns:
“There really is nothing funny about this, Kathy,” said Waukesha County Board Chairman Jim Dwyer when Nickolaus willfully ignored complying with the earlier impartial audit. “Don’t sit there and grin when I’m explaining what this is about.”
[. . .]
The audit was requested by the Executive Committee after the county’s director of administration, Norm Cummings, said Nickolaus had been uncooperative with attempts to have the county’s experts review her systems and confirm that backups were in place.
Because some of her equipment is so dated – such as an 11-year-old modem for transmitting data over the telephone and 1995 software no longer supported – and is not routinely getting security updates, her election systems are not connected to the county’s system but are on stand-alone equipment.
Oh, and if you’d like to hear Ms. Nickolaus’ press conference, Amanda Terkel has a nice write up at Huffington Post along with the video here:
You can add a comment to the other 24,000 (! NOT a typo) there as well. (24,000 comments??!! Yeah, I'd say people are interested.)
Legal & Political Developments
The BIG news yesterday was from Washington DC with a Wisconsin ricochet. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin represents WI-02, which includes a block of territory from Janesville, all of the Madison metro and up to the fringe of Wisconsin Dells. Her turf comes to the western edge of Waukesha county but that county is still downwind from her district's east side bratwurst grill. (Required equipment for all Congressional members from the Badger state. Issued to them when they are sworn in.)
Nonetheless yesterday Representative Baldwin released a letter to the public she has written to US Attorney General Eric Holder. In it she calls on Holder
To immediately assign the Justice Department Public Integrity Section, which overseas the federal prosecution of election crimes, to investigate the questionable handling of vote records in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.
Blogger Blue Cheddar has the whole letter and release here
Naturally it is an open question whether Eric Holder will actually DO anything about this (and its sad that this such an iffy proposition) but props to Baldwin for throwing out the opening pitch.
Team Prosser is trying to play nice.
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Justice David Prosser's campaign said Saturday that it was open to a recount of votes in Waukesha County as the state Supreme Court race remained without a declared winner.
"If you need to do a recount in Waukesha (County) and Waukesha (County) alone to satisfy heightened interest, that's fine," said Prosser campaign manager Brian Nemoir. "We believe it will only affirm the margin of victory we now enjoy."
On the OTHER hand Team Prosser is QUITE nervous about a federal investigation, so I'd say Baldwin opening salvo has at least turned a few heads over in Der Bunker.
The Prosser campaign said Saturday a federal investigation was unnecessary.
"We don't believe there is need for that," said Brian Neimor, the campaign manager for Prosser. "It’s certainly well within their rights to ask for that. In the end, now that the canvassing results have been reported to the Government Accountability Board, it will be evident that the mistake that was made was a reporting error to the media. That hardly seems like a punishable crime."
Neimor said the campaign was open to a recount of the ballots in Waukesha County
If you click through to the letter you’ll see Ms. Baldwin includes a little timeline of events that led to the letter.
AND, if you’d like to review or keep up on ALL the Wisconsin events starting with Gov.Scott Walker’s original introduction of his “budget repair” bill that touched off everything, Talking Points Memo has a REALLY cool interactive linky timeline here, sorted by events, Walker, protests, court cases, etc.
Wisconsin Events Timeline
At the Courthouse
We had one brief report from yesterday from the courthouse in Waukesha (the city). Apparently the place was crawling with more lawyers in one place since BP was drilling off the Gulf Coast last year and said, “Oops.”
Per a lawyer who was there... (3+ / 0-)
they are tediously going through election result tapes, papers of who voted, and matching subtotals. Page after page after page of the books in which voters are listed and checked off. He says that all of the municipal and village clerks are there volunteering their time and that the Kloppenburg people were being monitored by Prosser people. He also believes that there was streaming web of the whole operation. They spent the day in the basement of the courthouse. (The Waukesha clerk's office is in the courthouse.) Most of the time everyone behaved well and politely to each other.
by EHPD on Sat Apr 09, 2011 at 05:11:19 PM CDT
Today the courthouse will be open again (and how about a shout out to those municipal employees and city clerks who are coming in on their days off to do everything they can to help out?!) The Kloppenburg campaign sent out this plea for help TODAY (so if you’re just waking up on the Left Coast the Cheeseheads have been at it for a couple hours already)
The Kloppenburg campaign is looking for about 20 volunteers to help compare voter rolls in Waukesha on Sunday, April 10. People will be checking one by one and keeping tally. It’s slow, tedious, and detail oriented work.
When: Sunday, April 10. Please arrive by 8:45 a.m. Checking will begin at 9:00 a.m. (If you can come later that is fine as well.)
Where: 515 W. Moreland Blvd. Room 120, Waukesha 53188
For more information, or to volunteer, contact Kevin Mundt at email@example.com and/or 414-232-1375.
And by the way if you want to keep up on Wisconsin developments from a blogging/New media angle, set a book mark for Blogging Blue here. (Some excellent stories and links)
And if you want to ponder how it COULD be fraud (and again there is nothing so far to say it is, other than the vote dump itself) here is one school of thought:
OK, I'm going to be late for church but this will give all of you something to chew over. I'll be back in a couple hours.
That's at least some of the latest from yust nordwest of Lake Monona!