Agency Will Not Certify Court Race Until Probe Of Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus Completed

Good.

The agency overseeing Wisconsin elections will not certify results of Tuesday’s state Supreme Court race until it concludes a probe into how a county clerk misplaced and then found some 14,000 votes that upended the contest.

Michael Haas, Government Accountability Board staff attorney, told Reuters on Friday the watchdog agency was looking into vote tabulation errors in Republican-leaning Waukesha County which gave the conservative incumbent a net gain of more than 7,000 votes — a lead his union-backed challenger seems unlikely to surmount.

“We’re going to do a review of the procedures and the records in Waukesha before we certify the statewide results,” Haas said.

“It’s not that we necessarily expect to find anything criminal. But we want to make sure the public has confidence in the results.”

Investigation Into Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus Begins

And it starts, and justifiably so.

Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB), announced today he is dispatching staff to inspect and review the election night procedures in Waukesha County, where the outcome of the Supreme Court race is likely to be determined.
Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced Thursday that she discovered more than 14,000 votes from the City of Brookfield had not been counted in her original tally of Tuesday’s election.

 The votes gave Justice David Prosser the lead over challenger Joanne Kloppenberg in the closely contested race , as other counties in Wisconsin continued to canvass their vote totals today.

Nickolaus, who had been previously criticized by a Waukesha County audit that found she stored key electoral documents, including vote totals, on her personal computer, said the Brookfield votes were not counted because of “human error.”

Kennedy issued the following statement today:

“Our election system is administered by people, and some problems are bound to occur. However, our post-election canvass system is designed to identify any errors and correct them. While unofficial results reported by some counties on Election Night have proven to be incorrect, the process of election officials canvassing and certifying those results is working.

“Because of the attention on vote totals from Brookfield, I am dispatching G.A.B. staff to Waukesha County today to review the business processes and verify the reported results in the election for Supreme Court justice. I have been in close contact with Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus since her news conference on Thursday, and have directed her to make the official returns from the polling places available for public inspection. These documents are public records. I believe she is now taking steps to ensure transparency and public confidence in the official results.

“The G.A.B. will issue a report on the results of its review as soon as possible, and before certifying the statewide election results.
 

Brian Deschane Refuses To Work For A Mere $64,728 A Year

I will not even comment on this recent story….

Earlier this week I noted the fact Republicans want taxpayers to think they are looking out for how best to use money…..but how Governor Walker handled the Brian Deschane matter blew that idea all to heck.

Now this latest twist to the story….it only underscores why the Brian Deschane story erupted in the manner it did to begin with.  Lets face it some folks are just not ready for prime time.

The embattled son of a prominent lobbyist has resigned from the Walker administration after a controversy over his hiring led to a demotion earlier this week.

A spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker confirmed Thursday that Brian Deschane resigned after the governor took away his $81,500-a-year job with the Department of Commerce.

Deschane, 27, was officially sent back to his old job Wednesday with the Department of Regulation and Licensing, which carries a salary of $64,728 a year. DRL officials said he never showed up.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor had no comment on Deschane’s resignation. Deschane did not immediately return calls or emails seeking comment.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus Created Election Woes In 2006

The problems caused by Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus is not just contained to the last 24 hours when she threw the entire State of Wisconsin into chaos over the Supreme Court race. 

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus has a record of being inept, and careless as this following story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2006 underscores.  Clearly Kathy Nickolaus is not up to the job.

 As I posted on CP Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus must resign due to a continued lack of professionalism, and legal entanglements from the caucus scandal, along with her close working relationship with David Prosser at the State Capitol.

Waukesha Computer glitches, inoperable equipment and other problems troubled Tuesday’s primary balloting in Waukesha County, resulting in one candidate mistakenly being posted as winner of a race only later to be declared the loser.

The problems also prevented the county from posting final results of races until the early morning hours of Wednesday, and kept the county from posting results online.

In Waukesha County, problems with touch-screen equipment were among a host of snafus.

Christine Lufter, who lost a Republican primary in the 97th Assembly District, said Wednesday that she would not likely challenge the outcome, although she was still trying to sort out what happened.

“There was obviously a huge problem,” she said. “And why it affected the 97th race more than any other is confusing.”

Computer monitors at the county clerk’s office late Tuesday briefly showed Lufter winning her race, as county officials scrambled to correct flawed returns from the City of Waukesha.

Final results later showed Lufter losing to fellow Republican Bill Kramer by a significant margin.

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The lack of online election returns was a jolt to some county officials.

County Supervisor Bonnie Morris of Dousman said she was at a Tuesday night victory party for district attorney candidate Brad Schimel before she realized the county’s Web site was inactive.

Morris said she planned to question Nickolaus about the situation.

“I was very, very upset about it,” Morris said. “This is something that we as taxpayers have paid for.”


Delaware Moves Towards Civil Unions, Should Be Moving Towards Marriage Rights For Gay Couples

Some might say of the actions this week in Delaware…one step at a time.  But as CP has stated before civil unions are not an acceptable compromise.  Nothing short of full marriage rights for gay Americans will be tolerated. 

As I penned in April 2007….

…I have likened civil unions to children sitting at a separate table during the holidays.  No matter how you slice it there is a difference between the two and no one really can argue the point successfully.  The same is true with gay civil unions versus the right of marriage for straight men and women.  There is only one way to get all the rights, benefits, and social recognition in a relationship and that is through the bonds of marriage. 

In February 2007 I wrote this…

I reject anything for gay Americans that fall short of the full and complete rights afforded all citizens. While I understand the argument of moving one step at a time with this idea to allow some parts of society to adapt to reality, I do not want to hear people talk, as I did today, of civil unions as a major victory. It is not. To even imply that there is something just about withholding the right to marry for gay couples is no better than saying blacks should sit in the back of the bus, or cannot enter into marriage with a white person. The complete and utter stupidity of such thinking cannot, and must not, go unchecked.

So the fight continues.

The First State became the eighth state to approve a bill that would grant same-sex couple the same rights as heterosexual married couples—and with that, seemingly out of nowhere, the Delaware Civil Union Bill has put the tiny state on the map as a force in the fight for gay rights.

The News Journal broke the news that the measure, sponsored by State Senator David Sokola of Newark, was approved on Thursday, April 7. Out of the 21 votes, 13 were for and 6 were against; 2 Senators abstained.

Although a triumph for civil rights, the state senate approval is just the first step on a road that no doubt will be met with opposite across the tiny, politically divided state. Before it goes into effect, the Delaware Civil Union measure must be approved by the majority Democrat state House of Representatives, then signed into law by Governor Jack Markell. On March 24, Governor Markell announced his support for the bill, in a stirring speech, saying that “in good conscience,” the state could not tell certain committed couples that they weren’t entitled to the same rights as others.

Government Shutdown: Democrats Need To Stand Firm Against Unreasonable Demands From Republicans

The ‘riders’ that are being touted by teabaggers and conservative Republicans as essential components to the budget bill in Washington is nothing short of unreasonable.  The demands to cut Planned Parenthood funding and undermine the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate the Clean Air Act smacks of a continued ideological war that conservatives have on government and society.

Democrats must not cave to these tactics from teabaggers.

If the goal is cutting government spending for fiscal reasons that is one thing.  But to fixate, as conservatives continually do, on the outlying issues that they think they can achieve as part of a bigger package must not be allowed to happen.

This morning Senate Majority Harry Reid laid it out for all to understand…again.

The Democrat, speaking at the Capitol, said that he and President Obama had agreed to accept $38 billion in budget cuts — $5 billion more than was on the table last week.

But, Reid said, Boehner would not budge from a demand that the budget strip federal funding from the group Planned Parenthood. Negotiations continued at the staff level until 3 a.m., to no avail.

“We agreed on a number last night. They can spin this any way they want,” Reid said. “The number’s done.”

The problem, Reid said, were the “riders,” or spending cuts targeting specific programs, that House Republicans wanted included in a deal.

“In the presence of the president of the United States, we went through those that they, the Republicans, felt were most important,” Reid said. “They were all resolved, except the rider dealing with Planned Parenthood.”

How Tea Party Shutdown Of Government Will Hurt Economy

Teabaggers on the wild side in Washington could create misfortunes for the American economy.

How?

Well…

If the government shuts down on Friday night, all government functions deemed “non-essential” will be stopped in their tracks. But “non-essential” describes a wide variety of important government functions, which, if they stop, threaten to harm the nation’s fragile economy. Here are some of the economic consequences that will occur under a Tea-party inspired government shutdown:

SLOWER ECONOMIC GROWTH: According to analysts at Goldman Sachs, a shutdown “could shave 0.2 percent off the growth of Gross Domestic Product for every week it continued.”

HOUSING MARKET THREATENED: During a shutdown, the Federal Housing Administration, “which insures and guarantees a large number of single-family mortgages and even more rental and multifamily properties,” would cease operations, blocking home loan and insurance applications.

BLOCKED TAX REFUNDS: A shutdown would “delay $42.1 billion of refunds to about 14 million U.S. taxpayers,” the majority of whom are middle-class or low-income.

INCREASED DEFICITS: By increasing the costs of funding the debt, a shutdown could actually increase the federal deficit.

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS BLOCKED: During the shutdown, the Small Business Administration’s processing of loan applications is halted. The SBA approves about $50 million in small business loans per day.

INSIDER TRADING INVESTIGATIONS HALTED: At the Securities and Exchange Commission, the shutdown would stop most investigatory activities, “including routine sweeps and examinations of investment advisers and broker-dealers and most work on in-progress enforcement cases.”

SOCIAL SECURITY ENROLLMENTS SLOWED: While Social Security checks still go out during a shutdown, applications for new enrollment will be processed more slowly and “a huge backlog of applications for Social Security disability benefits would grow even larger.”

WORKPLACE SAFETY INSPECTIONS STOPPED: At the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which polices workplace regulations, only “‘imminent dangers’ to life or property could be investigated,” leaving 95 percent of workplace complaints unanswered.

TOURIST INDUSTRY AROUND NATIONAL PARKS HURT: National parks close during a shutdown, while “tourists spend about $32 million a day in the communities just outside the parks,” according to the National Park Service.

800,000 FEDERAL WORKERS FURLOUGHED: A shutdown would force the furlough of about 800,000 federal employees, and “leave the Treasury owing them $174 million a day in back wages.”

STATE BUDGET WOES EXACERBATED: If a shutdown occurs, “the federal money that helps states pay the administrative costs of their stretched unemployment programs could dry up, forcing states to advance  the money to keep the programs operating.”

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus Needs To Resign Over Botched Election Results

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus needs to resign because of the statewide mess she created concerning the election returns from the State Supreme Court race.

The reasons Kathy Nickolaus needs to resign as County Clerk are multi-fold.   

Kathy Nickolaus demonstrated a lack of professionalism that is expected of an official with her responsibilities.  She has also failed to be professional over time, and in so doing helped create the chaos that now engulfs Wisconsin.  

Kathy Nickolaus is also very suspect in this vote fiasco in light of the fact she was granted immunity after a caucus scandal when she worked as an Assembly Republican Caucus Employee while David Prosser was both Minority Leader and later as Speaker of the State Assembly.

Simply put, what took place in Waukesha County reeks to the heavens!  Kathy Nickolaus must own up to the massive problem, and resign.

Late Thursday the Waukesha County clerk announced that the vote total in 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 Kathleen 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.

This error seems more than fishy given the past working relationship Kathy Nickolaus has had with David Prosser.  For thirteen years Nickolaus worked for the Wisconsin State Assembly Republican Caucus as a data analyst and computer specialist.  During that time Prosser served in powerful elected positions in the State Assembly. 

Before Kathy Nicklous resigned in 2002 from her partisan job she  was granted immunity to testify about her role in the caucus.  The Republican Caucus was under investigation for using state resources (tax dollars) to secretly run campaigns.

There is no way that I buy into Kathy Nickolaus’ near-tearful explanation of how Brookfield was misplaced when counting and adding the numbers.  There is no degree of plausibility given all we know about her.  Kathy Nicklous’ partisan dealings that landed her in the legal arena makes this latest, and most unbelievable turn of events, not rising to the smell test.

Kathy Nickolaus’ lack of professionalism is underscored by the fact Waukesha County has what can only be described as an outdated and rickety means of keeping  tabs of votes cast.  She has insisted the county results be kept on an antiquated personal computer, rather than upgrade to a new data system being utilized statewide.  

When confronted about the problems in the past she smiled in face of the facts that were presented to her.

The Waukesha County Board also heavily criticized the clerk after she brushed aside their recommendations for improving election security. At one point during a hearing in January, board chairman Jim Dwyer grew exasperated with Nickolaus and said, “There really is nothing funny about this, Kathy. Don’t sit there and grin when I’m explaining what this is about.”

Again, what has occurred in Waukesha County regarding the court election does not meet the smell test.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Barca gave voice late Thursday for voters all over Wisconsin in a blunt statement.  

It is especially troubling that she waited more than 24 hours to report the startling discovery and then did so at a press conference and only after she verified the results. This makes it all the harder to challenge and audit the integrity of the vote.  

The partisan, political history of Ms. Nickolaus and the serious concerns about the quality of her performance found in an audit raises the question of whether an investigation is warranted. The public deserves to know that the votes were counted properly.

No one can relish the idea of making it clear to someone that they must step aside from a job.  But the damage that Kathy Nickolaus has done to our election process in Wisconsin is no small thing.  The people’s faith in casting a ballot has been damaged by the actions undertaken in the last 48 hours from the Waukesha County Clerk. 

It is time that Kathy Nickolaus resign her office.

The people of Waukesha County and all of Wisconsin deserve no less.