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Friday, April 8, 2011

 5:08 PM 

Kennedy says Waukesha County ballots sealed, won't be opened unless a recount requested

The Waukesha County ballots are in the clerk’s custody in bags that were sealed by poll workers on Election Night, Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy said today in a press conference.

He said the ballot bags will not be opened unless a recount is requested by one of the campaigns.

There are circumstances in which the GAB could open the ballot bags without a recount, but Kennedy said he didn’t think this situation merited that action.

“We know the Board of Canvassers followed the procedure they’re supposed to follow, which is to take the tally sheets and the printouts that come from tallying the votes to make that determination and that's what we’re reviewing at this point,” he said. “It would be an extraordinary measure to go in and open the ballot bags. If either of the campaigns aren’t satisfied when we get to the end of this process, that’s why we have a recount to go in and actually physically recount the ballots.

“This was a highly scrutinized election,” Kennedy said. “This is the kind of thing I would expect would be brought to our attention.”

Kennedy said he has confidence in Nickolaus’ performance as clerk and said she has been involved with many initiatives and has national certification. But he also said there are areas in which she could improve.

Kennedy said Nickolaus discovered the discrepancy on Wednesday but didn't bring it to public attention until Thursday. He said Nickolaus told him she tried to reach him right before she held her press conference Thursday.

Kennedy gave Nickolaus credit for coming forward with the discrepancy.

“When a mistake is made, I give her credit for standing up like a public official should and saying, ‘It was my fault,’” Kennedy said. “We have to continue to evaluate was it a timely answer. I've already talked to her and said we would have liked this information a lot sooner because this is a very high-profile race where we need to make sure everybody affected knows, the public, the media and the candidates.”

-- By Greg Bump

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