Strange Twist in Wisconsin Supreme Court Election
Something is very wrong with elections in the US. There was the Bush – Gore fiasco in 2000 with evidence of successful efforts to deny thousands of Americans of their right to vote in Florida There was the Bush – Kerry election in 2004 with mountains of evidence of vote manipulation in Ohio. The Republicans successfully brought down Acorn recently which registered poor and minority voters who usually vote Democratic. They are always complaining about voter fraud which is almost non-existent. The Democrats complain of voter caging and election fraud by the Right which is well documented.
One of the big problems is the fact that elections are so close these days. When there is less than 1% difference in the vote for two candidates, it does not take much vote manipulation to tip the scales. There have been a series of elections where it looked like the Democratic candidate won but suddenly, at the last minute, more votes were “found” for the Republican.
The latest incident was in the Supreme Court election in Wisconsin on April 5th. The race was a bitter contest between a moderate Democrat Joanne Kloppenburg who promised to keep politics out of the courtroom and David Prosser, a hard right Republican who was running with a promise to support for the unpopular platform of Scott Walker, the new Republican Governor. When the ballots were counted, the Democrat had won by less than 300 votes in a race where over a million votes were cast.
Then, two days later, Kathy Nickolaus the Waukesha County clerk “realized” that she had not reported all the votes for her country. She said that she had entered the votes for Brookfield but had not saved them. When more than 14,000 votes were counted, Prosser was suddenly 7,582 votes ahead of Kloppenburg. When the difference was a few hundred, there would have been a mandatory recount. But with a margin of over 7, 582 votes, the difference was conveniently just beyond the threshold of 7,400 votes needed to trigger a recount.
This might have been an honest mistake but there are a lot of things about this sudden reversal that don’t smell right. Nickolaus had been a legislative aid for Prosser when he was the Wisconsin Assembly Speaker and also worked for Scott Walker before he became Governor. She developed software for the Assembly Republican Caucus. She was caught campaigning for Republicans while working for the state in 2002 but was given immunity from prosecution. She kept the votes on her personal computer although she had been warned before not to do that. She was criticized in 2010 for inadequate security and backup procedures on her computer system.
This situation needs to be investigated by an impartial agency (Black Box Voting is a good start). If there is any evidence of vote manipulation found, Nickolaus should be brought to trial. There is a declining confidence in the integrity of US elections because of incidences like this. We need to do something before the American people lose all hope of participating in fair elections. For more details click here.