About one week ago Waukesha County failed to report results for the primary election until the wee hours of the morning due to a computer problem.
According to Kathy Nickolaus, election results failed because her equipment couldn’t upload data cards from voting machines throughout the county. Instead, Nickolaus taped paper tapes from voting machines for every reporting district on the walls in an adjacent meeting room, leaving it to reporters and others to add up their own totals. As a result, online results were not posted until about six hours after the polls closed.
The glitch happened about one year after a major discrepancy in Waukesha County cast doubt on the results of the 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court race. During that election, County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus mistakenly failed to tabulate thousands of votes from Brookfield voters. Investigations showed that Nickolaus had been using a personal computer to perform her election duties.
As a result of these problems, last week County Executive Dan Vrakas gave Kathy Nickolaus two options:
- Have the deputy clerk oversee the department during upcoming recall race
- Resign as County Clerk.
Nickolaus chose the latter and stepped aside for the upcoming recall elections. Dan Vrakas then appointed the deputy clerk to perform election night duties. He stated that he’s confident the change will bring positive results.
“Along with the deputy clerk’s willingness to accept outside help, which has not been the case with the other clerk, this will make sure that this process runs smoothly,” Vrakas said.
In an April 5th article by Carl Engelking of the Menomonee Falls Patch, Nickolaus apparently blamed the procedures set by the GAB for slowing down the vote counting.
“We felt that the process was very cumbersome,” she said. “We need to have a better process before May, and I’ll be contacting the GAB about that.”
Whether or not Nickolaus believes the process to be cumbersome, the fact remains that Waukesha County has had past and present troubles with voting procedures and she has not taken the necessary steps to correct them, such as seeking outside help from election officials or the GAB. At this time Waukesha is the only county in Wisconsin to be having these problems, so the “process”, as Nickolaus describes it, does not seem to be the problem.
Protestors Call for Nickolaus to Resign as County Clerk
In more recent news, a Milwaukee group identifying itself as Occupy Riverwest protested at the Waukesha County Courthouse and Administration Center on Wednesday to call on Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus to resign immediately.
Sarah Millard of the Patch reported that about a dozen protestors showed up for the protest.