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Thursday, April 7, 2011

 5:51 PM 

Waukesha County clerk apologizes for 'human error' that led to reporting incorrect vote totals

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus apologized this evening for human error that she blamed for failing to include the city of Brookfield's vote totals in the tally she reported to the media Election Night.

The mistake and two other changes in the county helped net Justice David Prosser 7,582 votes over JoAnne Kloppenburg and swung the race dramatically in his favor.

Nickolaus said she failed to properly save a spreadsheet after inputting the Brookfield numbers Election Night, leading to the error. Once she ran the report to show the aggregate numbers for the county, she assumed incorrectly the Brookfield numbers were included.

She said the mistake was discovered yesterday during the canvass.

She stressed it was not a case of votes being found.

"I’m thankful that this error was caught early in the process and during the canvass," Nickolaus said. "The purpose of the canvass is to catch these kinds of errors."

Nickolaus said there were two other changes in municipal vote totals in the county.

In New Berlin, the initial total in one ward for Prosser was reported as 37 when it was actually 237.

In the town of Lisbon, both candidates had lower vote totals after the canvass.

The wild swing in Prosser's favor immediately raised concerns among Dems, who pointed out Nickolaus is a former staffer for the Assembly Republican Caucus who was granted immunity in the investigation into allegations of illegal campaign activities on state time.

Ramona Kitzinger, the Democratic member of the county board of canvass, defended the process. She agreed with Nickolaus that the board "went over everything and made sure that all the numbers jibed up, and they did."

"I'm the Democratic vice chair of Waukesha County, so I'm not going to stand here and tell you something that's not true," Kitzinger said.

-- By Arthur W. Thomas

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