• WisPolitics


Friday, April 29, 2011

 3:48 PM 

Prosser, Kloppenburg each gain votes in initial stages of recount

Both Supreme Court candidates have gained votes in the statewide spring election recount as results slowly roll in to the Government Accountability Board.

With 96,930 votes recounted from 316 voting units, incumbent Justice David Prosser had 54,270 votes, a gain of 39 over the official county canvass total from those wards.

Assistant AG JoAnne Kloppenburg had 42,534 votes, gaining 17 over her canvass total and netting Prosser 22 votes, according to GAB reports. Prosser had a lead of more than 7,300 votes heading into the recount, but the votes counted so far are just a small fraction of the roughly 1.5 million cast on April 5.

Prosser campaign spokesman Brian Nemoir said the count is moving along efficiently, and he hasn't heard of any major problems.

"We go into this weekend having won this election, and we will have won this election when it's all said and done," he said.

The Kloppenburg campaign did not return a call from WisPolitics this afternoon.

-- By Andy Szal & Greg Bump


 11:51 AM 

Judge approves GAB plan for certifying recall elections

A Dane County judge today approved the Government Accountability Board's plan for certifying recall elections, a move that could allow the agency to hold eight of them July 12.

Judge John Markson turned back a Dem motion to require the agency to certify the recalls against Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke ahead of the others since they had been turned in first.

Markson said the GAB met its burden to show good cause to extend the recall certification deadlines, saying the weight of dealing with eight recall petitions at the same time "makes it a very, very difficult, if not impossible thing to achieve within the statutory deadline."

Under the proposed order, the GAB would meet May 23 to consider the petitions filed against Sens. Dan Kapanke, R-LaCrosse, Randy Hopper, R-Oshkosh, and Luther Olsen, R-Ripon. The board would hold a second meeting May 31 to consider the petitions filed against Sens. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha, and Jim Holperin, D-Cononver.

The filings of sufficiency or insufficiency for each recall petition would be filed between May 31 and June 3, which would clear the way for all of them to be held July 12, pending any legal challenges of the board's findings.

A ninth recall petition filed Thursday against Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, was not considered under the order today and a potential election would likely be held after July 12, GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said.

Jeremy Levinson, attorney for the Dem senators and the committees to recall the GOP lawmakers, sought to compel the GAB to certify the recalls of Hopper and Kapanke at its regularly scheduled May 17 meeting. He said organizers of those recalls deliberately submitted petitions with statutory deadlines in mind, in an effort to "make sure voters had the opportunity to choose their Senate representation while the issues of the day are fresh in their minds."

"I think we ask very little here, your honor," Levinson said. "I think the stakes are substantial."

Lewis Beilin, attorney for the GAB, argued that the spring election follow-up, state Supreme Court recount and unprecedented level of recall petitions have placed extraordinary demands on the agency, and that "like never before, good cause exists to extend these deadlines."

Beilin also argued that the board staff must have adequate time to consider all challenges to the recall petitions -- both to signatures and other legal issues -- and suggested that the public and local officials would be better served by consolidating elections.

"It makes no sense to have a rolling series of recall elections," Beilin said.

Markson said he was not basing his decision on the policy of when to hold recall elections, but instead on the demands now placed on the GAB.

Kennedy said the decision allows all parties involved to "make sure the petitions get the attention and the time that they're entitled to." Kennedy and GAB attorneys also rejected Levinson's argument that incumbents in the GOP majority would inherently benefit from the delay, saying the decision affords more time to campaign for all candidates involved.

Speaking after the hearing, Levinson charged that Kapanke and Hopper "just got an extra lease on life for awhile," particularly as lawmakers consider controversial subjects such as voter ID. But he predicted the decision would not affect the outcome of the recall elections.

"My optimism is not dimmed that we will see a new Wisconsin state Senate," Levinson said.

-- By Andy Szal

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

 9:26 PM 

Kloppenburg campaign says 'anomalies' warrant more review

JoAnne Kloppenburg's campaign manager says the first two days of the recount in the state Supreme Court race have tuned up a number of "anomalies" that warrant further review.

Still, Melissa Mulliken held off during a conference call with reporters from declaring any major shifts in the race, saying the process was ongoing.

"This is what a recount does," Mulliken said. "It looks at the process, and we think that we're going to shine some light and find some places where there were anomalies, and that's what we're finding and the process has to work."

David Prosser's campaign director Brian Nemoir said the issues that have popped up are small and compared them to the slight changes that happen to the vote totals during county canvasses.

"As this thing trudges on, one thing remains the same and that's Justice Prosser won," Nemoir said, referring to the justice's post-canvass margin of more than 7,300. "The question is at what cost to the taxpayers to find this out again."

Some estimates have put the taxpayer cost of a statewide recount at close to $1 million -- $500,000 of that in Milwaukee Co. alone.

-- By JR Ross

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 5:27 PM 

Dems want Hopper, Kapanke recalls to go first

Democrats want the recall elections for GOP Sens. Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke put ahead of the six other recalls, according to a court filing today.

Dem attorney Jeremy Levinson argues that the Kapanke and Hopper petitions were the first filed and have already been reviewed by Government Accountability Board staff.

"Because a recall election is held on the Tuesday of the sixth week after certification, delaying certification as proposed by the GAB will delay those recall elections weeks beyond what is statutorily mandated," writes Levinson.

The GAB yesterday proposed a plan that would allow it to hold eight recall elections July 12, including those against Hopper and Kapanke.

Levinson argues delaying the matter would give the incumbents an "extra-statutory" fundraising advantage, and leave representation of those districts "an open and pending question."

In addition, Levinson argues that delaying the recall elections may result in laws being enacted that would not be if the recalls are held in the time frame permitted by statute.

"The rush to put 'Voter ID' and the concealed carry of firearms before the legislature -- to say nothing of the pending budget -- confirm that this is an entirely concrete concern," Levinson writes.

The GAB's proposal calls for a meeting May 23 to consider the petitions filed against Kapanke, R-LaCrosse, Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, and Luther Olsen, R-Ripon. The board would hold a second meeting May 31 to consider the petitions filed against Sens. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha, and Jim Holperin, D-Conover.

The Dem response calls for the GAB to certify the Kapanke and Hopper petitions May 17 or sooner. No objection is raised to the timeline for the other recalls.

-- By Greg Bump

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 3:37 PM 

Hearing on GAB request on recall reviews set for Friday

Dane Co. Judge John W. Markson will consider a motion to extend the Government Accountability Board's recall petition review period Friday at 10 a.m., the GAB announced today.

The agency's filing seeks more than the 31 days allotted under state law to review recall petitions, citing the unprecedented number of lawmakers targeted. The request would allow the recall elections to each be held on July 12, pending any additional delays.

-- By Andy Szal


 1:55 PM 

Cowles signatures filed

The Dem Party says 26,000 signatures were filed today to recall GOP Sen. Rob Cowles of Green Bay.

Opponents need 15,960 valid signatures to trigger a recall.

Nine state senators have now had recall petitions filed against them.

-- By Staff

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

 5:16 PM 

GAB shooting to hold recall elections July 12

The Government Accountability Board today asked a Dane County judge to give it more time to review recall petitions in a move that would allow the agency to hold eight of the elections July 12.

Under the GAB's proposal, the agency and those involved in the recalls would have additional time to review the petitions, file challenges and respond to those filings.

The GAB argued the additional time was needed, in part, because of the demands now placed on the agency by the ongoing statewide recount in the Supreme Court race and the thousands of signatures filed against state senators so far.

It also points out in the filing recall elections by themselves are very rare in Wisconsin. To have eight going on at the same time is extraordinary.

"In addition, this number of simultaneous recalls has never occurred anywhere in the United States," the Department of Justice points out in the brief.

The board's proposal calls for a meeting May 23 to consider the petitions filed against Sens. Dan Kapanke, R-LaCrosse, Randy Hopper, R-Oshkosh, and Luther Olsen, R-Ripon. The board would hold a second meeting May 31 to consider the petitions filed against Sens. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha, and Jim Holperin, D-Cononver.

The filings of sufficiency or insufficiency for each recall petition would be filed between May 31 and June 3, which would clear the way for all of them to be held July 12.

GAB spokesman Reid Magney said any challenges filed in circuit court to the board's findings would likely upset the plan to hold all of the elections on one day.

The brief notes the GAB discussed its plan with the attorneys for all of the targeted lawmakers and says there was some disagreements on the proposal, though it does not detail what they were. That will require a hearing to sort out some issues, according to the brief, which notes the deadline to certify the Kapanke recall is May 2 and requests an expedited hearing.

-- By JR Ross

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 3:43 PM 

Slow going in Milwaukee County

There were six ballots contested in the Milwaukee County recount by 1:45 p.m. and four absentee envelopes that had not been voted on.

"We've only reviewed a small amount of ballots," said Judith Mount, the County Election Commission chair. "It appears there will be very little change overall."

-- By Jim Cryns

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 1:32 PM 

Darling continues to lead in second round of fundraising among recall targets

Joint Finance Committee Co-chair Alberta Darling continues to be the best fundraiser among those targeted for recall.

Between March 22 and April 18, she raised $232,714, spent $190,846 and had $219,731 cash on hand, according to her report filed with the Government Accountability Board. She has now raised $421,940 since the beginning of the year.

Here’s a rundown of the other recall targets according to how much they raised in the most recent reporting period. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, and Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, have not had recall papers filed against them. The deadline to file against Grothman is May 2, while the deadline for Lassa is May 16.

*Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, raised $141,146, spent $88,289 and had $99,061 cash on hand. Since Jan. 1, he has raised $180,310.

*Jim Holperin, D-Conover, raised $96,859, spent $87,149 and had $75,320 cash on hand. Since Jan. 1, he’s raised $150,904.

*Dave Hansen, D-Green Ban, raised $91,169, spent $52,456 and had $179,491 cash on hand. Since Jan. 1, he’s raised $127,437.

*Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, raised $71,995, spent $45,629 and had $59,472 cash on hand. Since Jan. 1, she’s raised $110,167.

*Grothman, R-West Bend, raised $58,580, spent $1,987 spent and had $79,188 cash on hand along with $8,378 in debts. Since Jan. 1, he’s raised $75,333.

*Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, raised $47,593, spent $24,183 and had $105,616 cash on hand with $9,844 in debts. Since Jan. 1, he’s raised $131,447.

*Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, raised $34,736, spent $637 and had $34,527 cash on hand. The report was Olsen’s first of the year and covered all activity since Jan. 1.

*Lassa, D-Stevens Point, raised $11,386 during the period, spent $455 and had $131,298 cash on hand. Since Jan. 1, she’s raised $45,683.

*Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha, raised $7,938, spent $136 and had $101,007 cash on hand. Since Jan. 1, he’s raised $50,965.

The group targeting Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, plans to file papers Thursday. Cowles has not reported any fundraising activity related to the recall with the GAB.

-- By JR Ross

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 1:12 PM 

Waukesha County takes lunch break, another glitch

In Waukesha County, the recount broke for lunch a little after noon with the tabulation still working through the Town of Brookfield and another glitch.

JoAnne Kloppenburg had lost two votes in a portion of the town with 148 votes, compared with the original tally of 150. David Prosser’s votes remained the same at 494. But only about 25 percent of the Town of Brookfield’s votes had been tallied.

The tally had issues with five absentee ballots.

The five were rejected by the voting machine initially because the voters had used regular ink to fill in the arrows, instead of lead pencil or special markers. In those cases, poll workers make duplicate ballots using pencil and initial them. The five original ink ballots were there on the table, but only four remade ballots could be located.

Judge Robert Mawdsley said he would consult the GAB over the lunch hour to see what to do.

“This is an anomaly we have to talk about,” he said

Other than that, there were no objections raised to the recount tallies. However, Mawdsley said objections can be made at a later time.

“This is like a long jury trial,” Mawdsley said, in that unexpected delays can make for long days for participants.

He also said he is taking extra precautions to record everything and follow procedures meticulously.

“It’s going slowly but it’s definitely a learning process,” he said. “We’re all moving along at a pace that I think is careful. We’re making a record here for the GAB; we’re making a record here that could end up in court. The record has to be carefully and thoroughly made.”

UPDATE: 2:35 p.m. -- A final look at four "remade" ballots from the first three wards to be counted in the Town of Brookfield yielded three additional votes for Prosser and one added vote for Kloppenburg. So the final recount totals for those three wards were 497 votes for Prosser and 149 for Kloppenburg. That compares with the originally reported totals of 494 for Prosser and 150 for Kloppenburg.

The board of canvassers and each tabulator who touched the ballots were asked to sign the ballot bags, which were then resealed and marked with new seal numbers.

The recount will continue this afternoon with the remaining wards of the Town of Brookfield. The tabulation will continue until about 5 p.m. It is not certain that the entire Town of Brookfield votes can be recounted by the end of the day.

The completed reporting unit from the Town of Brookfield is just the first of about 194 reporting units in Waukesha County, which contains 37 municipalities.

-- By Kay Nolan

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 12:17 PM 

Prosser campaign praises Nickolaus decision

The chief campaign official for David Prosser today praised Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus for recusing herself from the recount.

Brian Nemoir said the county vote total has already been counted and canvassed, but the move would provide even great assurances about the legitimacy of the vote.

JoAnne Kloppenburg's campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said that was Nickolaus' decision and reiterated her request for an independent investigation of how the vote there was handled.

Both campaigns were at the Milwaukee County recount this morning observing the process.

Mulliken defended the recount request as conservatives and Prosser continue to raise questions about the cost considering the incumbent's 7,316-vote lead following the county canvass.

Mulliken said the difference was less than one half of 1 percent and "this is our right."

Nemoir stressed there may be minor changes in the margin following the recount.

"The judge is back at work doing what he loves to do," Nemoir said of Prosser. "He’s confident the votes will remain. He has to be."

-- By Jim Cryns

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 11:47 AM 

Three votes challenged in Milwaukee County so far

By late morning there had been three ballots challenged in the Milwaukee County recount, but all three were upheld on closer inspection, said David Sartori of the Milwaukee County Election Commission.

Two of the votes were for Justice David Prosser and one was for JoAnne Kloppenburg.

-- By Jim Cryns

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 11:18 AM 

Glitch in Waukesha County recount

Waukesha County’s recount had a hiccup this morning after the numbers marked on one of two ballot bags from the Town of Brookfield and a security tag did not quite match that on the election inspector’s list.

All three numbers, which do not indicate number of votes in each bag, are supposed to match.

Retired Judge Robert Mawdsley, who is presiding over the recount because Clerk Kathy Nickolaus recused herself, ordered that only one bag could be opened immediately and asked that the second remain sealed.

He asked Brookfield Town Clerk Jane Carlson, who is present at the recount, for an explanation.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” she replied.

But after a short consultation with observers from both the Prosser and Kloppenburg campaigns, it was decided to open the second bag of ballots as well and continue.

The recount is starting with the Town of Brookfield and will then proceed to the Town of Delafield. There are 12 tabulators divided into teams. Four of them are going over poll lists, while eight are counting the actual ballots, stacking them by candidate in piles of 25.

They will switch and do a second count of each pile.

Finally, two other tabulators are working with absentee ballots.

-- By Kay Nolan

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 9:50 AM 

Clarke: 'I'm here for crowd control'

Sheriff David Clarke said this morning his agency would provide security at the recount of Milwaukee County votes in the Supreme Court race to ensure nothing got out of hand.

Citing the protests in Madison earlier this year, Clarke said things have a tendency to get out of hand, but he will not let that happen. He said he was invited to provide security by one city official he did not name and by the county Election Commission.

“I’m here for crowd control,” he said.

Workers and observers were still gathering shortly after 9 a.m. today, and there were no signs of protests outside the county sports complex, where the recount will be held.

Clarke said his department would also provide security for ballots overnight and would scale back its presence if the crowds turn out to be light.

-- By Jim Cryns

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

 9:58 PM 

Final fundraising reports in for special elections

Candidates for the three open Assembly seats have filed their final campaign finance reports ahead of the May 3 special elections.

In the 60th, the former seat of DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb, Duey Stroebel, R-Cedarburg, reported raising $9,385 during the pre-election period between March 22 and April 18. He spent $10,037 and had $412 cash on hand, along with loans of $8,500. His opponent, Rick Aaron, D-Bayside, reported $8,503 raised, $1,876 spent and $8,957 cash on hand.

Jim Brownlow, D-Muskego, in the district once occupied by DNR Executive Assistant Scott Gunderson, reported $12,538 raised, $3,208 spent and $12,393 cash on hand in his bid for the 83rd District. Since Jan. 1, he's raised $17,638. Republican Dave Craig of Vernon raised $5,213, spent $6,738 and had $8,720 in the bank with $1,150 in debts. Since Jan. 1, he's raised $19,880.

In the 94th AD, previously held by DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch, Steve Doyle, D-Onalaska, raised $31,562, spent $16,391 and had $28,857 cash on hand. Since Jan. 1, he’s raised $43,948. Republican John Lautz raised $26,020, spent $27,118 and had $8,247 left in the bank. Since Jan. 1, he’s raised $48,915 for the race.

-- By JR Ross

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

 11:37 AM 

Darling leads recall targets in fundraising so far

Most of the lawmakers targeted for recalls are taking advantage of state law that allows them to exceed normal contribution limits when facing removal from office, according to a WisPolitics check of campaign finance reports.

Joint Finance Committee Co-chair Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, leads the way for fundraising among recall targets with $188,226 through March 21. She also spent $15,579 and had $177,863 cash on hand. Her biggest donor was Daniel McKeithan of Tamarack Petroleum, who gave $20,000.

The normal contribution limits for state Senate candidates are $1,000 from an individual or a committee.

Darling’s report includes a number of heavyweights from the Milwaukee business community, including Bradley Foundation CEO Michael Grebe ($5,000) and Lubar & Co. founder and Chair Sheldon Lubar ($2,000). Her other largest donors include $11,000 from retiree Reid Marion and $10,000 from Joe Alexander of Alexander Management.

The reports for the GOP and Dem recall targets show some different trends.

Three of the four top fundraisers among the GOP targets are all members of the Joint Finance Committee, which is set to begin voting next week on the guv’s budget. In addition to Darling, Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac has raised $83,854 through March 21, while Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls raised $38,172.

Recall target Glenn Grothman of West Bend is also on the committee, though he represents a heavily Republican district and is not considered a top Dem target. Fellow committee member Luther Olsen of Ripon is one of three Republicans who have yet to file a fundraising report with the GAB. The others are Rob Cowles of Green Bay and Mary Lazich of West Bend.

Campaigns only had to file reports if they accepted or spent money on defending themselves from the recall efforts. The campaigns had until Friday to file reports covering activity between Jan. 1 and March 21. Reports are due Monday for activity between March 22 and April 18.

On the Dem side, Minority Leader Mark Miller of Monona, Spencer Coggs of Milwaukee and Fred Risser of Madison did not raise or spend any money related to the recalls and did not file reports. None is likely to face a recall election.

The reports from Dems who have filed have a more national flavor than their GOP counterparts. That’s in due to Dems’ success in fundraising through Act Blue during their boycott of the Capitol in an effort to stop a vote on the collective bargaining changes. The lawmakers and the state party were popular causes on the online fundraising clearinghouse during the national attention the self-imposed exile received, and most of their reports feature a slew of small-dollar donors.

Still, top Dem fundraisers Jim Holperin of Conover and Bob Wirch of Kenosha also listed significant PAC contributions from unions.

As of Friday, eight lawmakers eligible for recall have had papers filed against them. They are: Darling, Dave Hansen, Harsdorf, Holperin, Hopper, Kapanke, Olsen and Wirch.

Here’s a rundown of the fundraising numbers filed through Friday by the recall targets, listed according to the amount they raised:

*Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, raised $83,854, spent $15,147 and had $82,206 cash on hand with $9,844 in debts. His largest donor was Ralph Stayer of Johnsonville Sausage, who gave him $15,000.

*Jim Holperin, D-Conover, raised $54,045, spent $4,589 and had $65,610 cash on hand. His biggest donation was $3,000 from Capital Area UniServ South, and he raised $9,750 from PACs.

*Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha, raised $43,027, spent $2,673 and had $93,206 cash on hand. His biggest donations were $3,000 contributions each from Capital Area UniServ North and South Lakes United Educators Politically Active and Concerned.

*Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, raised $39,164, spent $2,103 and had $46,205 cash on hand. His biggest donor was Gunderson Lutheran physician Laurence Berg, who gave him $5,000.

*Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, raised $38,172, spent $15,612 and had $33,106 cash on hand between Jan. 1 and March 21. She has also already filed her report for the March 22-April 18 period, showing another $71,995 raised, $45,629 spent and $59,472 cash on hand. Her biggest donor in the latter period was retiree Grant Nelson, who gave her $20,000, while GOP state Sen. Mike Ellis’ committee gave her $5,000.

*Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, raised $36,269, spent $2,093 and had $140,778 cash on hand.

*Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, raised $34,297, spent $4,329 and had $120,366 cash on hand.

*Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, raised $16,753, spent $1,548 and had $22,595 cash on hand.

*Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee and a JFC member, raised $14,413, spent $339 and had $14,585 cash on hand.

Editor's note: This post was updated with Harsdorf's fundraising numbers from the Jan. 1 to March 21 period.

-- By JR Ross

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Friday, April 22, 2011

 7:38 AM 

Recall tally now stands at eight, more likely coming

Eight recall elections have now been filed against state senators, and more may be on the way.

With yesterday's filings, it's now five Republicans and three Dems who face recall elections, if the papers hold up to a review by the Government Accountability Board and possible legal challenges.

In addition to Alberta Darling of River Hills, fellow Republicans Dan Kapanke of La Crosse, Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac, Luther Olsen of Ripon and Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls have been targeted. On the Dem side, it's Dave Hansen of Green Bay, Jim Holperin of Conover and Bob Wirch of Kenosha.

Earlier this week, a Dem operative said he had “every expectation” the efforts to recall GOP Sens. Rob Cowles will proceed to a recall election. Opponents have until May 2 to filed papers against him.

The operative said organizers were still working on collecting signatures against GOP Sens. Glenn Grothman and Mary Lazich. The deadline for them is also May 2.

Meanwhile, Republicans appear to be ramping up their efforts against Dem Julie Lassa of Stevens Point. She has the latest deadline of the any of the Dems eligible for recall, and opponents have until May 16 to file against her.

Organizer Scott Noble said the group has now opened signature collection centers in Stevens Point and Marshfield and is beginning to run a radio ad promoting the effort.

So far, only Dems have formally announced plans to challenge targeted lawmakers. Yesterday, Rep. Fred Clark of Baraboo said he would run against Olsen, while Oshkosh Deputy Mayor Jessica King has said she will challenge Hopper and Rep. Jen Shilling said she would run against Kapanke.

You can follow updates at the GAB site.

-- By Staff

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

 3:59 PM 

Kloppenburg, Prosser campaigns agree to hand recount in some counties

The campaigns of JoAnne Kloppenburg and David Prosser today agreed to a hand recount in parts of 31 counties to avoid having to erase data on the original Election Day returns now stored on voting machines.

Some municipalities in those counties rely on older technology that would require the original vote totals to be erased before the recount could begin. The deal includes 34 municipalities in Waukesha County. For the rest of the state, a machine recount will be used.

Both sides said they supported the deal, and Dane Co. Judge Richard Neiss said the stipulation was "absolutely the best way to go."

Prosser campaign director Brian Nemoir said the deal will speed up confirming the justice's victory.

"This is the best resolution because we believe moving this along as quickly as possible is the best thing for the state because it costs less and will reaffirm the results of the election two weeks ago," Nemoir said.

Added Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken: "We're pleased that the issue was resolved so quickly and pleased with an outcome that ensures all of the data is preserved."

Assistant AG Steven Means said the Department of Justice believed the data should be erased with verification by both parties before an electronic recount, arguing that lawmakers had established a high threshold for hand recounts when it enacted electronic voting. But he said DOJ would not object to the judge's decision.

-- By Andy Szal

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 10:18 AM 

What's next

The Government Accountability Board expects to file a request today with a Dane County court to clear the memory on some older optical scan machines to prepare for the recount.

GAB spokesman Reid Magney said staff attorneys were still working on the filing this morning. State law says the electronic memory devices on those machines cannot be cleared for 21 days after an election or while a recount is in place except with a judge's permission, Magney said.

Magney said only a candidate can request a hand count of the ballots, though he said the issue may come up during the expected court hearing on the GAB's request to clear the memory.

Kloppenburg has been encouraged by some liberal groups to seek a hand count of the almost 1.5 million ballots cast. To do that, she would have to persuade a judge with "clear and convincing evidence" that a machine recount would be inaccurate, Magney said.

The majority of the state's voters use optical scan ballots, and, usually, recounts in Wisconsin largely involve feeding ballots through the machines for a second count.

Both sides then look for ballots in which the voter's intent may be in question while going over write-in votes and absentee ballots to ensure they conform to state law and the voter's intent is clear.

Magney said there is a significant number of places still use paper ballots.

The GAB has yet to officially order the recount and has two weeks from receiving Kloppenburg's request to issue the order.

UPDATE - 1:36 p.m.: The GAB has now filed its request to clear the memory cartridges on some optical scan voting machines with Dane Co. Judge Richard Niess.

The parties are currently in a court hearing on the matter, but the Department of Justice does not expect Judge Niess to address any substantive matters.

-- By JR Ross

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 9:42 AM 

Documents related to Kloppenburg request for investigation of Waukesha County clerk

Here are some documents JoAnne Kloppenburg's campaign filed with the GAB to support her request for an investigation of the Waukesha County clerk's actions.

Here is the complaint cover letter in which Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken writes there remain questions about Clerk Kathy Nickolaus' "ergregiously inaccurate report" of the count vote totals. They include why she failed to include Brookfield's votes in her initial tally, whether their omission was intentional, whether her explanation was truthful and why she failed to immediately correct the error upon discovering it.

Here is letter to the GAB from Kloppenburg attorney Susan Crawford, who argues there is a compelling need for an independent investigator because the agency has a close working relationship with the Waukesha County clerk's office. She also references an email from Waukesha County DA Brad Schimel offering Nickolaus encouragement in arguing his office should be precluded from any investigation. The letter includes emails from other county clerks offering support, as well as Schimel's email.

And here's the complaint. Among other things, the campaign alleges Justice David Prosser met privately one-on-one with Gov. Scott Walker the evening after the election and noted the guv had made comments earlier that day that there might be "ballots somewhere, somehow found out of the blue that weren't counted before."

A Walker spokesman said no such meeting occurred.

The complaint also points out Nickolaus' involvement in the so-called "caucus scandal" as well as past questions about vote totals reported by her office.

-- By Staff

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

 5:14 PM 

Prosser spokesman says Kloppenburg pursuing "nakedly political goal"

Justice David Prosser's spokesman Brian Nemoir issued the following statement this afternoon on JoAnne Kloppenburg's call for a recount:

We learned something this afternoon from JoAnne Kloppenburg. Apparently nothing will stop her from going ahead and wasting taxpayers hard-earned money to discover what election officials did on April 5th – that Justice David Prosser was reelected.

We’ve now had a statewide canvass and four separate examinations of the canvass in one county. The record books show the largest number of votes turned in state history on a recount is 489. Their losing margin now stands at fifteen times that.

And now, ironically, less than 24 hours after the Government Accountability Board concluded that the April 5th canvass in Waukesha County was correct, she today insists that it needs further examination.

With the official canvass showing her down by over 7,300 votes, the only way she can achieve her nakedly political goal is to do one thing: challenge and disenfranchise thousands of Wisconsin citizens who exercised their right to vote April 5th and believed this election over.

Justice Prosser’s recount team will work diligently in the weeks and months ahead to protect the votes of Wisconsin citizens at the same time Ms. Kloppenburg’s campaign works to take them away.”

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 4:02 PM 

Kloppenburg says narrow margin demands recount, asks for professional investigation of Waukesha County

JoAnne Kloppenburg said this afternoon a series of anomalies in various Wisconsin counties and the narrow margin in her race with Justice David Prosser demand a statewide recount.

"It is right for me, it is right for my campaign, it is right for my supporters, and it is right for the people of Wisconsin," Kloppenburg said.

She also called on the Government Accountability Board to appoint a special investigator to "professionally, thoroughly and completely investigate the actions and words of the Waukesha County clerk."

Kloppenburg said during a press conference at Warner Park Community Recreation Center in Madison that she did not make her decision lightly. But undervotes in Milwaukee and Racine counties, reports of long lines and photocopied ballots in Fond Du Lac, and significant changes in the Winnebago County vote totals necessitate a recount.

Kloppenburg said a recount will help "shine the necessary light" on an election whose outcome "seems to so many people to be suspect."

"With a margin this small -- less than one half of one percent -- the importance of every vote is magnified and doubts about each vote are magnified as well," she said.

Because the margin is less than one half of 1 percent, Kloppenburg's campaign will not have to pay for the recount. Those costs will instead be borne by local governments and the state.

"The statutes provide the state will pay when the results are this close," she said.

Kloppenburg said the GAB should seek an outside investigator to look over the Waukesha results because of supportive communications between agency staff and Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus that she said could compromise their ability to do a critical review.

A few dozen supporters cheered on Kloppenburg's announcement, but a heckler at attempted to interrupt her multiple times, at one point shouting, "Wisconsin doesn't want you," and "Our state supports Governor Walker." He was confronted by Kloppenburg supporters and asked to keep quiet.

The man, who would only say that he was from Madison but declined to give his name, left before the end of the press conference and Kloppenburg didn't seem disrupted by him.

-- By JR Ross & Greg Bump

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 3:53 PM 

GAB: Kloppenburg requests statewide recount

The Government Accountability Board says Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg has requested a statewide recount.

With the county canvasses in, Justice David Prosser had a 7,316-vote lead over Kloppenburg. He has publicly discouraged Kloppenburg from seeking a second calling, calling such a move "frivolous" and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said in a statement the recount will begin next week.

"We have been preparing for a recount since Election Night," Kennedy said. "We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice."

Kloppenburg planned a 4 p.m. news conference to discuss her decision.

-- By JR Ross

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

 2:53 PM 

GAB finds few anomalies, no major discrepancies in Waukesha Couty vote

The Government Accountability Board announced today there were a few anomalies, but no major discrepancies between Waukesha County's official canvass and documentation the state agency obtained from the municipalities.

"We are satisfied that the numbers reported by the municipalities were consistent with the numbers certified by the Waukesha County Board of Canvassers," the agency said.

GAB staff spent four days going over election materials in the wake of the Waukesha County clerk announcing she had neglected to include 14,000 votes in the initial tally she reported to the media Election Night.

The agency said it was continuing its investigation into other issues, including 2006 election numbers posted at the county website.

Read the report.

-- By JR Ross

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Monday, April 18, 2011

 1:26 PM 

Prosser gives victory speech, supporters say recount unnecessary

Supreme Court Justice David Prosser and his campaign personnel say a recount from his opponent JoAnne Kloppenburg would be "frivolous" and a waste of taxpayer money.

Prosser formally declared victory today in a press conference in the Assembly parlor of the State Capitol. He called the election "uncomfortably close" but said now that canvasses in all 72 counties are complete "the result of the election is not in doubt."

Brian Schimming, a former aide to Prosser and top GOP state official who will head up the recount effort should one requested by Kloppenburg, said the final vote margin of 7,316 in favor of the incumbent is well beyond the number of votes that have historically changed hands in a recount.

"It's not close enough. It's just not there," Schimming said. "It's too big a number."

Kloppenburg has until 5 p.m. Wednesday to ask for a recount. The margin of victory is less than the spread required under state law for Kloppenburg to request a recount without having to pay for it.

Schimming said a statewide recount would be expensive for taxpayers, saying it could run into "hundreds of thousands of dollars."

A fundraising arm has been created on Prosser's behalf -- the Prosser Recount Victory Fund -- should Kloppenburg choose to seek a recount. Schimming said he's already heard from more than 500 people ready to volunteer for the effort statewide.

Attorney Jim Troupis, who has been advising Prosser, said he would vigorously challenge a recount.

"We will take any and every step to prevent this frivolous matter going forward," Troupis said.

In his speech, Prosser thanked his campaign and supporters and said he continues to support the election of justices.

"Wisconsinites should not surrender this important right because of periodic frustrations about the messiness of democracy," he said. "Instead, we should all work to elevate the substance and etiquette of judicial campaigns."

Prosser said "powerful forces, not always clearly identified" tried to turn the election into a referendum of Gov. Scott Walker and his policies.

"Fortunately, Wisconsin voters rejected this effort," he said. "They ultimately understood that this election was about filling a 10-year term on the Supreme Court of Wisconsin and that candidates for the office should not commit themselves, directly or indirectly, on cases that have not yet come before the court."

Prosser called an ad from the Greater Wisconsin Committee that questioned his handling of a priest sex abuse case when he was Outagamie County district attorney "grossly unfair and misleading." He said voters rejected the "scurrilous" advertising and the negative reaction to that ad helped ensure his re-election.

"The people of Wisconsin are too smart and far too decent to base their votes on personal smears," he said.

UPDATE: 3:13 p.m. -- Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said the assistant AG was still weighing her options.

"We haven’t made a decision on whether to request a recount and are carefully weighing the options," Mulliken said. "State law clearly contemplates a recount if the margin in an election is within .5 percent and this race falls within that.

-- By Greg Bump

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Friday, April 15, 2011

 4:00 PM 

Prosser declares victory

A spokesman for Justice David Prosser this afternoon declared victory this afternoon, saying the "will of the electorate is clear" with the final canvass now in.

"Justice Prosser extends his appreciation and respect to Joanne Kloppenburg and her spirited campaign," Brian Nemoir said. "With certified results in-hand, Justice Prosser hopes that a shared respect for the judiciary allows the campaign to move to a positive conclusion."

Nemoir said Prosser looks forward to thanking voters and expects to make a public address soon.

-- By JR Ross

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 3:29 PM 

Kloppenburg campaign will weigh options

Kloppenburg for Justice Campaign Manager Melissa Mulliken minutes ago issued the following statement:

"Now that the statewide canvass is complete, our campaign will focus our decision making on whether to request a recount. By statute, we have three business days in which to make that decision. We will review the information available to us and carefully weigh the options. We will make an announcement concerning our decision no later than Wednesday, April 20, 2011."

-- By Staff

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 2:50 PM 

Milwaukee County finishes canvass

Milwaukee County has finished its canvass of last week's Supreme Court race with Justice David Prosser netting 11 votes compared to JoAnne Kloppenburg, putting his lead at 7,316, according to a WisPolitics tally.

That margin is still within the spread required under state law for Kloppenburg to request a recount without having to pay for it.

See the updated WisPolitics spreadsheet with final canvass numbers.

-- By JR Ross

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

 5:36 PM 

Officials pledge to complete Milwaukee County canvass by Friday deadline

Milwaukee County has again pushed back the expected completion of its canvass in the state Supreme Court race.

Election Commission Department Administrator Lisa Catlin Weiner said it was going slower than expected, but the canvass would be finished by tomorrow’s deadline.

According to the commission, there have been no significant changes in the vote totals.

“We have the blessing of the state,” Weiner said. “They want us to make sure we do it right and take our time so they’re not rushing us and we’re not beyond the deadline.”

Weiner said various disruptions have delayed the process, including having to explain the process to a number of parties and an unusually high level of media interest in the results.

-- By JR Ross


 10:17 AM 

Dem lawmakers ask GOP committee chairs to investigate Waukesha County snafu

Nine Dem lawmakers signed a letter to the GOP chairs of the Legislature's Elections and Judiciary committees asking them to investigate the Waukesha County clerk failing to initially report some 14,000 votes in the Supreme Court race.

The lawmakers called on the chairs to "help restore people's faith that their votes count and our electoral system is free and fair."

They also requested joint hearings of their committees to investigate the results and conduct of Waukesha County election officials.

-- By JR Ross

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 9:48 AM 

Dems ask GAB to look at 2006 Waukesha County vote totals, too

The state Dem Party has asked the GAB to expand its investigation of the Waukesha County clerk’s handling of votes from the Prosser-Kloppenburg race to include a look at what it says is a possible discrepancy from the 2006 election.

In a letter to the agency, Chair Mike Tate points out a 17,243-vote difference between the numbers of votes in the 2006 AG’s race reported to the state and the number of ballots cast listed on the county’s website.

The difference in the AG’s race that year was fewer than 9,000 votes.

“I note with serious concern that this discrepancy is more than enough to have swung the statewide election against the Republican and for the Democrat,” Tate writes.

Since the discrepancy was pointed out on a blog this week, the clerk’s office has added a post to its website that, “Ballot Cast is the number of ballots that were fed through the election machines at the polling places and the results were collected using a modem in the office. It does NOT include any hand entered results. Number of Votes in a particular contest or race is the number of votes certified after canvassing. The results collected using a modem and any results hand entered in the office on election night."

-- By JR Ross

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

 3:25 PM 

Unlikely Milwaukee County will finish today

Milwaukee County Election Commission Department Administrator Lisa Catlin Weiner says it's unlikely the canvass will be finished today.

While the county has done one round of proofing numbers, it's now doing the second check before the final numbers can be certified and sent to the GAB.

The county finished the first step of the canvass process in which the number of ballots cast is compared to the numbers entered in the poll books and the voters slips handed out at the polls.

Now, the county is checking the certified number of ballots cast against the returns municipalities sent in Election Night.

-- By JR Ross

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 11:49 AM 

Taylor, Sauk now officially in, Milwaukee could be end of today, possibly tomorrow

The canvasses from Sauk and Taylor counties have now been posted to the GAB website. But it could be until the end of today or even tomorrow before Milwaukee County is through proofing its numbers.

Milwaukee County Election Commission Department Administrator Lisa Catlin Weiner said the final touches were still being put on its canvass before it's finalized.

There was one tweak to our tally now that the Sauk and Taylor canvasses are posted. JoAnne Kloppenburg had one fewer vote on the canvass posted today compared to information collected from the clerk's office last week.

That puts David Prosser's lead at 7,305 votes with Milwaukee County still out.

See the updated tally.

-- By JR Ross

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

 3:52 PM 

Nickolaus: 'I will serve the remainder of my term'

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus this afternoon rejected a call from a local Dem Party official to resign, pledging to serve the remainder of her term.

She did not say in the statement whether she intends to seek re-election, though she said she would spend the remainder of her term "to restore the voter's confidence in me."

She was re-elected in 2008 to the office without opposition.

"I understand why people are upset and I am taking this matter seriously," she said. "Again, I am sorry for my mistake."

She said she has begun a review of her procedures and asked the GAB and Waukesha County auditor to assist in the review and help implement improved practices. She hopes that will "make sure the process is more transparent and this mistake does not happen again."

-- By JR Ross

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 2:14 PM 

Waukesha County Dem Party chair calls on Nickolaus to resign

The chair of the Waukesha County Dem Party has called on Clerk Kathy Nickolaus to resign over last week's mishandling of voting returns.

Victor Weers said in the statement Nickolaus has ignored calls to improve her reporting system, and "We must have a county clerk that we can trust to do this important work of the people with competence, security and openness. Waukesha must have a new county clerk now."

-- By Staff

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 1:59 PM 

Prosser: Largest swing in Wisconsin recount 489 votes

Justice David Prosser’s campaign says the largest swing in a statewide Wisconsin recount it’s found was 489 votes, putting pressure on JoAnne Kloppenburg not to request a second tally in their race.

The release notes Prosser’s lead hovers around 7,000 votes with Milwaukee County yet to finish its canvass.

“While there may be a legal right to a recount, after a review of past-results and consideration for the heavy burden upon the state, it is in the best interests of the state to have the common sense decision be made to avoid the unnecessary drama of a recount,” said Prosser campaign director Brian Nemoir.

-- By JR Ross

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 1:22 PM 

Milwaukee Co election official says canvass right on schedule

Milwaukee County Election Commission Department Administrator Lisa Catlin Weiner said the canvass is scheduled to finish tomorrow, and that's right in line with when the county normally completes its review.

"We're actually right on schedule," she said of the state's largest county and the last to finish its canvass from last week's Supreme Court race.

Weiner said the county takes longer than others in part because it had 485 individual reporting units and a small staff. By comparison, the state's second largest county, Dane, has 248, according to the clerk's office.

Weiner said the county canvass is a two-step process. First, the county matches up the number of ballots cast in each of those reporting units with the number on the last voter slip issued Election Day and the numbers entered into the poll books to make sure all three are the same.

Any discrepancies are sent back to the municipality to correct, and she was waiting today to hear back on a number of those.

The county also inputs all numbers from municipalities to proof against the tapes from the voting machines to make sure those numbers match.

Once that's done, the canvass is sent to the Government Accountability Board electronically, while a paper copy is printed, signed and then sent to the agency separately.

Weiner said the board finished its November canvass a couple of days before the GAB deadline. This time is no different, though there are more people watching the process.

"We have quite a few observers," she said.

GAB spokesman Reid Magney said counties have until Friday to turn in their canvasses. The agency then has until May 15 to certify the results. In that process, the GAB essentially makes sure all of the reported numbers from the counties add up properly.

The deadline to request a recount is three days after the final canvass is turned in to the agency.

The official canvass totals for Kenosha and Oneida counties have now been posted to the GAB site. The canvasses for Sauk and Taylor counties, while completed, had not yet been posted to the site by early this afternoon.

-- By JR Ross

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Monday, April 11, 2011

 4:58 PM 

Kennedy: Waukesha County investigation ongoing, but numbers appear to match up

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy says the agency's investigation of spring election procedures in Waukesha County remains ongoing, but that the final canvass numbers in the city of Brookfield match the initial tallies from poll workers on Election Night.

"We don't see, at this point, any criminal activity, but we certainly see practices that need to be changed to bolster public confidence," Kennedy said.

GAB staff is now the process of matching those numbers for all Waukesha County wards after Brookfield ballots were mistakenly left out of Election Night returns from the county clerk. The numbers tentatively turned a razor-thin lead for Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg into a margin of more than 7,000 votes in favor of incumbent Justice David Prosser.

Kennedy also said GAB staff is reviewing Election Night practices in the county, saying he hopes to give the public and the press greater access to the county's results and break them down by voting precinct so that the 24 voting wards in Brookfield wouldn't be overlooked in future elections.

Kennedy also said the Milwaukee County canvass likely won't be done until Wednesday.

-- By Andy Szal

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 1:36 PM 

Dem member of Waukesha County Canvass Board raises concerns over process

The 80-year-old Dem member of the Waukesha County Board of Canvass who said the "numbers jibed" last week after the clerk announced a 14,000-vote error raised concerns today about the process.

Ramona Kitzinger was widely quoted following a Thursday news conference in which Clerk Kathy Nickolaus blamed human error for failing to include votes from Brookfield in the tally she sent to the media on Election Day. Once those votes were added into the statewide totals, it swung the election dramatically to Justice David Prosser by some 7,000 votes.

A statement from Kitzinger was posted on the Waukesha County Dem Party's website this afternoon in which she said she was speaking up now because many had perceived her comments at Thursday's news conference as confirmation the numbers Nickolaus announced were valid and accurate.

At the news conference, she said, "We went over everything and made sure all the numbers jibed up and they did. Those numbers jibed up, and we're satisfied they're correct." She added, "I'm not going to stand here and tell you something that's not true."

Kitzinger said today there was no mention last week of the mistake while the canvass was conducted Wednesday and Thursday.

"In retrospect, it seems both shocking and somewhat appalling there was no mention of discovery of this 15,000 vote 'human error' that ultimately had the potential to tip the balance of an entire statewide election. How is this possible?" she said.

Once the canvass was complete, she was pulled into a meeting with Nickolaus and the GOP member of the canvass board where they were told of an upcoming news conference and the mistake, though not the magnitude. Nickolaus explained what happened and showed them different tapes "where the numbers seemed to add up, though I have no idea where the numbers were coming from." She also said she was instructed she would not say anything at the news conference.

She said she remains "very, very confused" as to why the canvass was finished before she was told of the Brookfield error and that she told Nickolaus when called into the meeting that she is 80 and doesn't "understand anything about computers."

"I was never shown anything that would verify Kathy’s statement about the missing vote, and with how events unfolded and people citing me as an authority on this now, I feel like I must speak up," she said.

A county party spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Kitzinger did not immediately return a message left at a number listed for her in Waukesha County.

-- By JR Ross

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 12:29 PM 

Updated canvass tally; Prosser lead at 7,304

We took some time this morning to go back over our canvass tally to double check numbers and updated our original spread sheet from Friday with the latest results.

After a couple of tweaks, our new tally shows Prosser with a 7,304-vote lead with Milwaukee County the only official canvass still to be completed.

We have double checked the numbers we collected from the clerks with what's been reported to the GAB and tweaked the totals in Juneau and Taylor counties.

In addition to Milwaukee County, the results for Crawford, Kenosha, Oneida and Sauk counties have not been posted to the GAB site yet. The numbers we have for those four counties are still those that we collected from the clerk's offices.

See the updated tally here.

-- By Staff

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 9:49 AM 

Outagamie County numbers in; Prosser lead 7,311

Outagamie County canvass numbers are now in, netting David Prosser 1 vote. That pushes his lead to 7,311 with complete Milwaukee County numbers still out, according to a WisPolitics tally.

The final numbers in Outagamie County are:
JoAnne Kloppenberg 18,878, minus 7.
David Prosser 24,769, minus 6.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post has been updated to correct the Prosser's canvass total compared to his Election Day numbers.

-- By JR Ross

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

 7:40 AM 

Kewaunee, Trempealeau, Richland counties now in; Prosser lead 7,310

Kewaunee, Richland and Trempealeau counties have no filed their canvass results with the state Government Accountability Board.

In Kewaukee:
JoAnne Kloppenburg 2,405, plus 1.
David Prosser 3,331, no change.

Kloppenburg nets 1.

In Richland:
Kloppenburg 2,186, plus 6.
Prosser 1,797, minus 1

Kloppenburg nets 7.

In Trempealeau:
Kloppenburg 3,330, no change.
Prosser 2,878, no change.

No change.

In all, Kloppenburg gained eight votes with those three counties.

We also were initially off by one vote in our Brown County figures; the corrected numbers net Kloppenburg one vote there.

With Milwaukee and Outagamie counties still out, Prosser's lead stands at 7,310.

-- By JR Ross

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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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 4:57 PM 

No changes in Oneida County, five counties left

Oneida County has finished its canvass, and the clerk's office says there were no changes to the results initially reported Election Day.

JoAnne Kloppenburg received 5,135 votes, while David Prosser received 5,515 votes.

Prosser's lead, according to a WisPolitics.com tally, remains 7,319 with five counties out.

Milwaukee County expects to finish its count next week. Kewaunee, Outagamie, Richland and Trempealeau have not reported their returns to the GAB yet, and WisPolitics.com was unable to obtain their final numbers this afternoon.

-- By JR Ross

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 4:40 PM 

Prosser lead to 7,319 with Winnebago County in

Winnebago County has now released official numbers that net David Prosser another 244 votes.

That pushes his lead to 7,319 votes with six counties still out, according to a WisPolitics.com tally.

JoAnne Kloppenburg finished with 18,887, 466 more than the tally from Election Day.

Prosser finished with 20,701, 710 more than Election Day.

-- By JR Ross

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 2:49 PM 

Prosser lead at 7,075 with seven county canvasses still out

Justice David Prosser held a lead of 7,075 votes early this afternoon with seven county canvasses still out, according to WisPolitics checks with clerks and the reports they've sent to the GAB.

Those that have not been turned in include Milwaukee County, which will not complete its count until next week, and Winnebago County, where Prosser is expected to add to his lead over JoAnne Kloppenburg.

See the WisPolitics tally.

-- By Staff

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 1:49 PM 

GAB sending staff to Waukesha County

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said this afternoon he is sending agency staff to Waukesha County to review business processes and verify reported results in the Supreme Court race.

Kennedy made the announcement following Clerk Kathy Nickolaus' revelation that she had failed to include results from Brookfield in the totals she initially reported to the media. Adding in those numbers yesterday afternoon swing the election some 7,500 votes in favor of Justice David Prosser.

Kennedy said he's directed Nickolaus to make official returns available for public inspection.

The GAB will issue a report on the results "as soon as possible" and before certifying statewide election results. He also said other counties have shown different totals from Election Night, and the GAB is working with clerks to ensure the accuracy of results.

"We have confidence in Wisconsin’s county and municipal clerks, and do not believe any of them would do anything illegal to jeopardize their own reputation, or Wisconsin’s reputation for clean, fair and transparent elections," Kennedy said.

-- By JR Ross

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 8:49 AM 

Pepin County numbers

Canvassing in Pepin County has reduced Justice David Prosser's vote total there by six.

Prosser's vote count went from 888 to 882 following the canvass. Kloppenburg's total of 983 was unchanged.

-- By Greg Bump

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

 7:46 PM 

Kloppenburg campaign statement

Statement from JoAnne Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken:

"Wisconsin voters as well as the Kloppenburg for Justice Campaign deserve a full explanation of how and why these 14,000 votes from an entire City were missed. To that end, we will be filing open records requests for all relevant documentation related to the reporting of election results in Waukesha County, as well as to the discovery and reporting of the errors announced by the County. We are confident that election officials in Waukesha County will fulfill these requests as quickly as possible so that both our campaign and the people of Wisconsin can fully understand what happened and why. Just as Assistant Attorney General Kloppenburg has run to restore confidence in the court, Wisconsin residents also deserve to have full confidence in election results."

-- By JR Ross

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 7:42 PM 

Prosser statement

Statement from David Prosser:

“I’m encouraged by the various reports from the county canvases. Our confidence is high, and we will continue to monitor with optimism, and believe that the positive results will hold. We’ve always maintained faith in the voters and trust the election officials involved in the canvasing will reaffirm the lead we’ve taken.”

-- By JR Ross

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 7:33 PM 

Some updated numbers

We've grabbed final canvass numbers from a dozen counties with another 60 still out there.

Those dozen have added 280 votes to JoAnne Kloppenburg's total and 7,498 to David Prosser's. That has netted Prosser 7,218 votes and gives him a lead of about 7,000 votes. Still, that number is fluid with other canvasses likely done that we haven't been able to collect yet and more reviews nearing completion.

Kloppenburg began the day with a 204-vote lead, according to unofficial returns.

That total does not include Winnebago County, where Prosser picked up a net of 244 votes, because the final canvass is not complete. We are also not including other incomplete canvass numbers in our total.

-- By JR Ross

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 7:26 PM 

New totals could change recount dynamic

The votes that David Prosser netted out of Waukesha County could mean JoAnne Kloppenburg would have to pay for a recount.

Under state law, a candidate can request a recount and not have to pay for it if the margin is within one half of 1 percent of the overall vote.

The initial tally from The Associated Press had 1,479,976 votes cast, though that number is going to fluctuate as the canvasses come in. One half of 1 percent of that total is roughly 7,400 votes.

Between one half of 1 percent and 2 percent, the cost to the candidate is $5 per ward. If the difference is more than 2 percent, the candidate requesting the recount has to pay for all of the costs.

-- By JR Ross

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 6:39 PM 

Winnebago County clerk explains Prosser boost

Clerk Sue Ertmer said Winnebago County is still working on its canvass, but she has discovered several voting machines that didn't report numbers initially. That resulted in a net gain of 244 votes for Justice David Prosser.

Ertmer said four voting machines in the program indicated they had already turned in results. But it was discovered yesterday morning they had not been reported. That resulted in the county website showing Election Night that 100 percent of the vote was in.

After it was discovered, the updated numbers were posted at the county website yesterday afternoon.

The new numbers were 20,701 for Prosser and 18,887 for Kloppenburg. Ertmer said the canvass to finalize the numbers would pick up again tomorrow.

-- By JR Ross

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 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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 5:11 PM 

Waukesha County canvass nets Prosser more than 7,500 votes

The Waukesha County canvass netted Justice David Prosser more than 7,500 votes over JoAnne Kloppenburg, swinging the vote total dramatically in his direction.

The clerk's office called a 5:30 p.m. news conference to discuss the results. Ahead of the news conference, it handed out a sheet that showed new vote totals for the Supreme Court candidates without explaining the changes.

The new totals showed Prosser with 92,263 votes in the county, while Kloppenburg had 32,758. That netted Prosser 7,582 votes, compared to the initial tally reported by The Associated Press.

Unofficial returns yesterday afternoon gave Kloppenburg a lead of 204 votes.

-- By Arthur W. Thomas

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 4:56 PM 

Waukesha County clerk calls 5:30 p.m. news conference

The Waukesha County Clerk planned a 5:30 p.m. news conference today to discuss its vote totals amid reports that it failed to include the votes for Brookfield in the results it sent The Associated Press on Election Night.

It could represent a more than 7,000-vote swing in an election that whipped back and forth this afternoon as county canvass totals came in.

Brookfield City Clerk Kris Schmidt said she sent her numbers to the county clerk's office Tuesday night that showed David Prosser with 10,859 votes and JoAnne Kloppenburg with 3,456. She said those numbers did not change in the postmortem she did after the election.

"I have no clue what’s going on. she said. "No one has officially told me what’s going on."

-- By JR Ross

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 4:03 PM 

Kloppenburg nets 30 in Iowa County

Official canvass:
JoAnne Kloppenburg 3,919, plus 107
David Prosser 2,455, plus 77

Kloppenburg net 30

EDITOR'S NOTE: Since there are so many of these that will be rolling in, we're going to use a format like this going forward. The number listed will be the official canvass number from the county followed by how it differs, if it does, from the AP's initial Election Night report.

-- By JR Ross

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 3:55 PM 

Kloppenburg nets 12 in Door County

Door County has completed its canvass with JoAnne Kloppenburg netting 12 votes on David Prosser there.

The County Clerk says Prosser finished with 5,200 votes, which is 17 more than the initial AP tally.

Kloppenburg finished with 4,662, which is 29 more than the initial AP tally.

-- By JR Ross

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 2:14 PM 

Prosser announces legal team

Justice David Prosser announced this afternoon the leader of his legal team for the expected recount will be Jim Troupis.

The team will also include Milwaukee-based Attorney Dan Kelly and Ben Ginsberg of Washington, D.C.

“We are preparing for a recount, contingent on the results of the statewide canvas currently underway,” Prosser said.

Ginsberg, of Patton Boggs, worked on the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential race for then-Gov. George Bush.

-- By JR Ross

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 1:36 PM 

Winnebago County Clerk numbers boost Prosser

Winnebago County returns posted by the clerk's office give Justice David Prosser 244 more votes there than JoAnne Kloppenburg compared to the results The Associated Press tallied.

Kloppenburg led Prosser in the final AP statewide tally by 204 votes, meaning the updated Winnebago County numbers would put him in the lead by 40.

Both candidates received more votes in the clerk's office numbers than the AP tally. Prosser netted 710 votes for a total of 20,701, while Kloppenburg netted 466 votes for a total of 18,887.

Those numbers are not official and could still change. The county was working on its canvass today and tomorrow, according to the clerk's office.

The clerk was participating in the canvass and not immediately available for comment.

UPDATE: 2:43 p.m. -- News editor Roger Schneider said The Associated confirmed with Winnebago County officials yesterday morning the returns they sent in Election Night. He was unsure why the numbers were different when posted to the county website yesterday afternoon.

-- By JR Ross

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

 5:29 PM 

Kloppenburg confident winning margin will hold up

Assistant AG JoAnne Kloppenburg this afternoon said she's confident the current margin in the Supreme Court race will hold, and that she's "looking forward to becoming a justice on August 1."

Kloppenburg declared victory earlier in the day after unofficial returns showed her with a razor-thin 204-vote lead over incumbent Justice David Prosser. Official results will be available after completion of 72 county canvasses, after which a recount appears almost certain.

But the challenger said at a press conference at the Edgewater Hotel that "the numbers show that we won." She said she hasn't spoken with Prosser or hired any attorneys to deal with a potential recount.

Kloppenburg downplayed the effect of recent political controversies on the election, saying she and Prosser participated in an unprecedented number of debates and insisting voters could see past the deluge of third-party ads in the race.

"I don't think it was a referendum at all on Governor Walker's policy," Kloppenburg said.

She did acknowledge that the collective bargaining debate did affect the race, but only to underscore the importance of independence and impartiality on the high court.

For now, Kloppenburg said she'll let the canvassing process play itself out and return to work at the state Justice Department. She said she intends to stay with DOJ until August.

-- By Andy Szal


 2:51 PM 

Kloppenburg declares victory as AP shows 204-vote margin

JoAnne Kloppenburg declared victory this afternoon, touting an Associated Press tally that shows her leading Justice David Prosser by 204 votes.

“We owe Justice Prosser our gratitude for his more than 30 years of public service,” Kloppenburg said. “Wisconsin voters have spoken and I am grateful for, and humbled by, their confidence and trust. I will be independent and impartial and I will decide cases based on the facts and the law. As I have traveled the State, people tell me they believe partisan politics do not belong in our Courts. I look forward to bringing new blood to the Supreme Court and focusing my energy on the important work Wisconsin residents elect Supreme Court justices to do.”

Prosser campaign director Brian Nemoir did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment. He has already said the campaign is preparing for a recount.

UPDATE: Prosser showed no signs of conceding in a late afternoon statement.

“Yesterday’s Supreme Court election produced a historic turnout, and an uncertain result,” Prosser said. “The victor in this election won’t be decided today, or even tomorrow, as counties conduct their canvases which will better‐reconcile the reported results. Throughout the day, vote totals and percentages have fluctuated, providing uncertainty. We have survived an epic campaign battle, and we will continue to fight for every vote cast.”

-- By JR Ross

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 2:19 PM 

AP doesn't plan to call race

The latest numbers from The Associated Press posted at various media outlets show 100 percent of the vote in and JoAnne Kloppenburg leading by 204 votes.

But the AP does not plan to call the race because it's so close and the numbers are unofficial.

The AP is also still verifying some numbers in Fox Point.

The latest numbers posted are:
Kloppenburg 740,090
Prosser 739,886

UPDATE: 2:37 p.m. -- The AP says it's done tallying unofficial returns.

The numbers remain Kloppenburg 740,090, Prosser 739,886.

The tally is now in the hands of the county boards of canvass.

-- By JR Ross

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 1:58 PM 

Walker: Spring election results show disparity between Madison, rest of state

Gov. Scott Walker said this afternoon that the spring election results show there are "two very different worlds in this state."

"You've got a world driven by Madison, and a world driven by everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state of Wisconsin," Walker said at a press conference in the Capitol.

Walker said he didn't believe the election was a referendum on his policies, saying the results reinforce Wisconsin's status as a "purple" state. He attributed other victories by Dem-backed candidates outstate to local factors, while noting that conservative candidates such as Jim Ladwig in Racine also emerged victorious Tuesday. In particular, he said the results in the race for his former post as Milwaukee County executive reflected its status as a "dark blue county."

Walker added that Justice Prosser's performance in many parts of the state bodes well for GOP senators who may face recall elections later this year.

"For those who believe it's a referendum, while it might have a statewide impact that we may lean one way or the other, it's largely driven by Madison, and to a lesser extent Milwaukee," the governor said. "But those Senate recall elections on both the Democrat and Republican side aren't being held in Madison, they aren't being held in Milwaukee."

Walker also said he isn't worried about the likelihood of a long, statewide recount in the Supreme Court race "as long as it's fair."

"I think where people get frustrated with recounts is if they think people are changing the rules," Walker said.

-- By Andy Szal

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 1:55 PM 

Kloppenburg campaign watching returns patiently

JoAnne Kloppenburg's campaign is patiently watching the final numbers trickle in and is not making any declarations.

"I think we’re waiting to hear who’s won this race," Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said when asked for comment on the latest numbers.

-- By JR Ross

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 1:39 PM 

Latest AP numbers

Kloppenburg 739,711
Prosser 739,505

That puts Kloppenburg up 206 votes.


UPDATE: 1:46 p.m. -- New latest numbers:

Kloppenburg 739,714
Prosser 739,508

EDITORS NOTE: This post fixes a typo in the previous post on Kloppenburg's numbers.

-- By JR Ross

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 12:45 PM 

Prosser campaign optimistic, preparing for recount

David Prosser's campaign director remained optimistic early this afternoon even as unofficial returns showed the justice trailing narrowly.

"We are assembling our legal team and continuing to watch our vote totals," Nemoir said. "We are encouraged by the turnout and believe in a record-setting Supreme Court election there’s plenty of reason to believe there’s unrecognized opportunity to deliver a victory."

-- By JR Ross

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 11:21 AM 

Town of Lake Mills votes won't be finished until 11:45 a.m. meeting

The Lake Mills Leader is reporting election officials in the Town of Lake Mills won't meet until 11:45 a.m. to finalize the vote there.

Township officials were scheduled to meet at 8:30 a.m. to finish counting the final 24 paper ballots, but lacked a quorum.

With Milwaukee officials saying all of their votes are in, the Lake Mills votes may be the final ones to be tallied in the Supreme Court race.

The paper reported the township has yet to report any of the 700 to 760 votes cast there to Jefferson County.

-- By JR Ross

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 10:17 AM 

Kloppenburg, Prosser could raise unlimited amounts for recount

Supreme Court candidates JoAnne Kloppenburg and David Prosser have been limited in what they could spend on this spring's race because they accepted public financing.

But GAB Director Kevin Kennedy says they would be able to raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals, PACs and political parties for the expected recount battle.

Kennedy said they could use their existing campaign accounts to start fundraising. They could not take donations directly from corporations.

-- By JR Ross

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 10:10 AM 

Some recount history

If the Supreme Court race ends up going to a recount, it will be the first one statewide since 1989.

That year, a recount was done over a referendum question that would have amended the state constitution to allow targeted property tax relief, GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said. The question initially failed by 654 votes out of 811,204 cast. After the recount, it failed by 1,089 votes.

-- By JR Ross

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 9:40 AM 

Kloppenburg edges back into lead

JoAnne Kloppenburg has edged back into the lead as the final precincts continue to come in.

According to the AP's unofficial tally, Kloppenburg now has 738,368 to 738,228 for Prosser.

Complete returns are still not in.

UPDATE: 10:06 a.m. -- Kloppenburg's lead is now 447 votes.

UPDATE: 10:51 a.m. -- Kloppenburg's lead is now 224 votes.

-- By JR Ross

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 9:21 AM 

Some key county numbers

The final call on the Supreme Court race still hasn't been made. But there are some noteworthy county results to look at.

As expected, Dane County saw a huge surge in turnout and delivered big time for JoAnne Kloppenburg. With one precinct still out, she had 133,513 votes, or 73 percent, compared to 48,627, or 27 percent for David Prosser.

But she trailed behind Chris Abele in Milwaukee County, where the county exec candidate won with 134,848 votes. With two precincts out, she had 128,644 votes, or 57 percent, to 98,933 votes, or 43 percent for Prosser.

For Prosser, the suburban Milwaukee counties came in huge for the conservative jurist.

In Waukesha County, he won 81,255 votes, or 73 percent, to 29,332 votes, or 27 percent for Kloppenburg. He also won 76 percent of the vote in Washington County, an edge of 30,788 votes to 9,903. He also won 72 percent in Ozaukee County, an edge of 20,811 to 8,278.

Prosser also won Sheboygan County (63 percent to 37 percent), Racine (56-44), Outagamie (57-43), Fond du Lac (61-39), and Dodge (61-39).

Kloppenburg won Eau Claire (58-42), Kenosha (53-47), La Crosse (59-41), and Rock (60-40).

-- By JR Ross

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 8:09 AM 

Turnout likely around 33 percent

While we're still waiting for the final wards to come in, we already know yesterday's turnout was significantly higher than the usual April election.

With 99 percent of the vote in, there have been just less than 1.5 million votes tallied. That puts turnout at roughly 33 percent of voting-age adults.

The number of votes cast is inching close to the 1.5 million who turned out for the 1980 April election, when the presidential primary was still on the ballot. But it will fall well short of the percentage of voters who turned out 31 years ago because the pool of voters has grown significantly since then. That year April turnout was 46 percent.

-- By JR Ross

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 8:05 AM 

New numbers add to Prosser lead

The Associated Press had added some results from the Milwaukee suburbs that have pushed David Prosser's lead to 835 votes, up about 200 from the last unofficial tally early this morning.

The AP plans to begin adding more numbers from the missing wards after 9 a.m.

-- By JR Ross

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 7:43 AM 

Prosser's campaign still chasing numbers

Prosser campaign director Brian Nemoir says he's still trying to chase down some wards.

"While we are cautiously optimistic, it's safe to say that this campaign will transition from turning out votes to protecting the integrity and recounting the votes," he said.

-- By JR Ross

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 2:03 AM 

Prosser: I survived 'nuclear blast'

A tired but upbeat David Prosser declared that he had "weathered a nuclear blast" about 1:40 a.m. Wednesday.

"We're optimistic. We expect later today to bring good results," Prosser told a handful of supporters who had stayed until the wee morning hours at the Seven Seas restaurant in Delafield.

"This is truly an historic election," Prosser said. "There is little doubt there's going to be a recount in this race, no matter who comes out on top -- tomorrow or today or whenever. But I'm very pleased we have sustained the most difficult assault on a person's character in the whole history of the Wisconsin judicial system. We're still in this race, I've weathered the nuclear blast and I'm still standing.

"There is no question about my gratitude to the people of Wisconsin" Prosser said, to applause and shouts of "Ten more years."

-- By Kay Nolan

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 1:19 AM 

Eau Claire County now in

The final Eau Claire County numbers are in.

The final spread was Kloppenburg 15,688 to Prosser 11,214.

According to various sources, there appear to be pockets of votes out in the following counties: Ashland, Dane, Dunn, Milwaukee, Jefferson, Juneau, Oconto, Sauk and Taylor.

-- By JR Ross

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 1:14 AM 

Kloppenburg: Get some sleep

JoAnne Kloppenburg told supporters to go home and get some sleep because the race remained too close to call tonight.

Kloppenburg said The Associated Press told her it would not call the race tonight with pockets of votes around the state yet to be counted.

“We won’t know until tomorrow,” she told the crowd with unofficial returns showing her trailing narrowly.

“It’s not over yet. We’re still hopeful. Let’s all get a good night’s sleep and see what tomorrow brings.”

-- By Greg Bump

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 1:07 AM 

Schimming says Prosser ready for recount if needed

Brian Schimming, Prosser's former chief of staff and 1st vice-chair of the state GOP, told the justices supporters should before 1 a.m. that the campaign was ready for a recount if needed.

Schimming said while Prosser had a narrow lead, there were a number of wards still outstanding, including a dozen in Milwaukee County and half of Middleton, which is Kloppenburg's home community,

Schimming told supporters Dems and special interest groups who had run ads against Prosser had failed to send the "big message" they'd hoped for.

"A week ago, they thought they had Justice Prosser beat, but if that's their perspective, based on the result tonight, they haven't made a lot of progress," he said.

"I think it speaks a lot of Dave Prosser's integrity that he did not win by a big margin in Dane County. If they were looking for a big message tonight, that message was neither sent nor received," Schimming said.

-- By Kay Nolan

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 12:23 AM 

Racine races finalized

Reports project Racine County Register of Deeds Jim Ladwig to succeed Bill McReynolds as county executive. Ladwig was defeating Ken Hall by 20 percentage points with 84 percent of the vote reported.

In addition, incument Racine Mayor John Dickert handily defeated Eric Marcus, winning 73-27 according to unofficial returns.

-- By Andy Szal

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 12:18 AM 

Some Marathon County details

According to the Marathon County Web site, there were some three dozen wards in Wausau that hadn't reported any returns by shortly after midnight.

But about two-thirds of those precincts have no registered voters.

The remaining wards have just more than 2,000 registered voters.

-- By JR Ross

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 12:14 AM 

60th AD field set

The field for another May 3 Assembly special election is tentatively set.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting in the 60th AD, Duey Stroebel held a 67-vote lead on Gary Wickert in the race to replace former GOP Rep. Mark Gottlieb of Port Washington. Stroebel had 27 percent of the overall primary vote to Wickert's 26 percent; five other candidates lagged behind in that crowded primary.

Should those results hold, Stroebel will face Rick Aaron, who won the district's Dem primary over Perry Duman.

-- By Andy Szal

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 12:11 AM 

Campaigns trying to piece together what's still out there

The campaigns of JoAnne Kloppenburg and David Prosser say there remain precincts out in Eau Claire and Marathon counties.

Prosser's campaign also says there are a few wards out in Portage County.

Another big question is absentee ballots. Dem sources say there were some 8,000 absentee ballots to be counted in Milwaukee County. But no one answered the phone at the county or city election commissions to confirm that.

With 97 percent of the vote in, Prosser led 724,355 to 722,518.

UPDATE: 12:14 a.m. -- Prosser's lead shaved to 1,684 votes -- 724,859 for Prosser, 723,175 for Kloppenburg.

UPDATE: 12:58 a.m. -- Milwaukee Dem sources are now saying those absentee ballots have been counted.

-- By JR Ross

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 12:07 AM 

Colón holds on to Milwaukee Co. court seat

Milwaukee Co. Judge Pedro Colón held off Glendale Municipal Judge Christopher Lipscomb in the county's Branch 18 race.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Colón had 91,417 votes to Lipscomb's 86,268. Colón, a former Dem state rep., was appointed to the post by then-Gov. Jim Doyle in September.

-- By Andy Szal

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

 11:45 PM 

Parisi: Message resonated with 'strongly engaged' electorate

Dane Co. Exec.-elect Joe Parisi said his resounding victory today reflected "a message that strongly resonated with the public."

"And the public was strongly engaged in this election," Parisi said after defeating Dane Co. Supervisor Eileen Bruskewitz of Waunakee.

Parisi said he'll be resigning his legislative seat -- comprising Madison's far east side and surrounding suburbs and towns -- very soon in preparation for his swearing-in two weeks from Election Day.

The Madison Dem said priority No. 1 will be the county budget, particularly looking for efficiencies in county government and working to adjust the state budget as it moves through the Legislature.

"Things do look very challenging, but I do think there's some suggestions we can make," Parisi said.

-- By Andy Szal

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 11:31 PM 

Prosser retakes lead

With 92 percent reporting, incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has retaken the lead over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

The race is a statistical dead heat, but Prosser holds a 687,274 to 686,683 vote lead, according to the latest returns.

Kloppenburg had as much as a 35,000 vote lead less than an hour ago.

UPDATE: 11:33 p.m. -- Kloppenburg has slimmed the lead to 399 votes with 93 percent reporting.

UPDATE: 11:35 p.m. -- Prosser has surged to a lead of 6,510 votes with 94 percent in.

UPDATE: 11:40 p.m. -- Prosser's lead is now 1,790 votes with 95 percent in.

UPDATE: 11:44 p.m. -- With 97 percent in, Prosser holds a 1,915 vote lead.

-- By Staff

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 11:22 PM 

Just in case you were wondering

Under Wisconsin law, there's no such thing as an automatic recount, GAB Director Kevin Kennedy says.

A candidate has to ask for a recount, and it's free so long as the difference is less than one half of 1 percent. Between one half of 1 percent and 2 percent, the cost to the candidate is $5 per ward. If the difference is more than 2 percent, the candidate requesting the recount has to pay for all of the costs.

A recount cannot be requested until all of the county boards of canvass are in, which Kennedy said would likely be Monday or Tuesday. Candidates then have three business days after the last canvass comes in to request a recount.

-- By JR Ross

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 11:19 PM 

Cieslewicz: It's been an honor

In his concession speech, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz told a crowd of chanting supporters that he called Paul Soglin to congratulate him on his win and vowed to help in the transition.

"While things did not work out for me the way I had hoped, this was a great evening for the progressive movement in Wisconsin," Cieslewicz said, noting the good showing for JoAnne Kloppenburg and Joe Parisi's win in the Dane County exec race.

"Our city faces challenges like we’ve never had before, but I do think there is great strength in this community. We are up to these challenges," he said.

"To all of you tonight from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you so much for your support and all your support over these last eight years … it has been an honor to serve as your mayor."

State Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, said the city has been fortunate to have Cieslewicz as its leader.

"There are many, many things to celebrate tonight," Pocan said. "One of which is this is the best city to live in the country and largely because we have had great leadership, and that has been with Mayor Dave Cieslewicz."

-- By Greg Bump

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