Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus (R) has announced sharply amended totals for her county in the Supreme Court race from Tuesday night — saying that she had inadvertently failed to properly import and save data into a Microsoft Access database, omitting the numbers from the city of Brookfield and its over 14,000 votes. And as such, according to Nickolaus's new totals, Justice David Prosser has gained a net 7,582 votes — overcoming the razor-thin lead of liberal-backed challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, who had already declared victory on Wednesday.
"I'm thankful that this error was caught early in the process and during the canvass," said Nickolaus. "Again, the purpose of the canvass is to catch these types of errors. It's important to stress that this is not a case of extra votes or extra ballots being found. this is human error, which I apologize for - which is common in this process, which is why the state requires us to conduct a canvass. Every person in Waukesha County that voted on April 5th, their votes counted. After the error was discovered in Brookfield, I reviewed all the other votes with our board of canvass, from every municipality. We have now verified all the results, and are confident that they have been properly reported to the Government Accountability Board."
On hand with Nickolaus at the press conference to announce the vote shift were the Republican and Democratic members of the county canvassing board — including Democrat Ramona Kitzinger, who vouched for Nickholaus's narrative. "Everything that we went over yesterday afternoon and today, it jived up, and we're satisfied that it's correct. And I'm with the Democratic Party, vice-chair of Waukesha County, so i'm not gonna stand here and tell you something that's incorrect."
Nickolaus was asked about reports from Brookfield that she had called city officials on election night, asking them to resend the data.
"On election night, all the people that were to bring in spreadsheets, they were given a spreadsheet template," said Nickolaus. "They were asked not to change that template. When the city of Brookfield results came in on election night, extra columns were put into that spreadsheet, which would have been a problem if I had tried to import that in." Thus, she said she called them and stressed the importance of preserving the template.
"I saved them, but when I imported them into the Access database, I thought that they were saved at that time, and didn't have any real reason to believe they weren't. We used this program for the November election and the February election without any problem. So I thought we could use it again without any problem."
What would she say about accusations of fraud, a reporter asked?
"Well, we sat through an open, transparent meeting for the last day and a half. We sat with people from both sides of the aisle, and went through every tape number by number, and proofed those numbers, then proofed those numbers again. Anyone who saw that canvass could see what we were doing."
Nickolaus was asked when the problem was discovered. "when I was uploading the data from the e-night results to the state system so we could start our canvass at noon, yesterday," said Nickolaus.
If it was found yesterday, a reporter asked, why announce it only today? "We had to verify that. We had to verify those numbers, and that is what we were doing."
(Thanks to the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee for live-streaming the press conference.)
Republished with permission from TalkingPointsMemo.com. Authored by Eric Kleefeld. TPM provides breaking news, investigative reporting and smart analysis of politics.