Friday, April 8, 2011

Why Kathy Nickolaus's Story Doesn't Hold Water

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)

"I have not made my decision. This isn't that big of a deal. It isn't worth an argument. This is ridiculous." - Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus to County supervisors when pressed to implement security measures already used all over Wisconsin

If nothing else, Republican activists like Kathy Nickolaus have a twisted view of what can be defined as "ridiculous." What's truly ridiculous is that she could proffer a transparently disingenuous story like "finding" well over 14,000 votes that she forgot to count and doing so with a straight face. Meanwhile, a Nov. 2009 poll showed 52% all self-identified Republicans still believe that ACORN stole the election for Obama while a fifth (21%) don't know whether ACORN did or didn't. That's ridiculous.

The already polarized election for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice was from the start turned into a referendum on the popularity or lack thereof of Gov. Scott Walker's, the state GOP's and, by extension, the Koch Brothers' ceaseless crusade against public unions. But in light of last night's "revelation" by Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus that almost 7600 votes for Prosser mysteriously appeared from a private computer to which she had sole access, the election has become a referendum on the electoral integrity of not just Waukesha County, not just of Wisconsin but of the entire nation as Election Day 2012 draws near.

One of Nickolaus's cover stories from last night was that voter turnout was high on Tuesday night but Christian Schneider of the National Review hastens to add,
On election night, AP results showed a turnout of 110,000 voters in Waukesha County — well short of the 180,000 voters that turned out last November, and 42 percent of the county’s total turnout. By comparison, nearly 90 percent of Dane County voters who cast a ballot in November turned out to vote for Kloppenburg.

That says a mouthful right there. 180,000 county residents came out to vote in a midterm year and 42%, or less than two thirds, came out last Tuesday night.

It's hard to tell where the state's Republican machine is trying to assign blame. Nickolaus seemed to place to blame both on her shoulders and on the outdated software she insists on using to tabulate the votes. In the title of his National Review article, the syympathetic Schneider generously calls the SNAFU a "computer error." And if you're to read the semi-hysterical bloviations of the right wingers who dwell in the basement of the comments section of the right wing NR, you'll hear the usual suspects being named: Al Franken to ACORN to Democrats and liberals in the abstract and even Barack Obama (news flash: Franken was elected to the Senate after 10,000 votes were found like a body in the trunk of a mob car. Forget the fact that Franken won by only 225 votes).

What also brings the stench of the 2000 presidential election wafting into the pristine air of Wisconsin is the fact that another well-placed female Republican operative with obvious ties to the Republican candidate, one in a position to hide electoral data and manipulate votes, suddenly makes it possible for the Republican to win after the Democratic challenger had already been named the victor.

But Tom DeLay can save beaucoup bucks on air fare for his protester goons because this election, if the "results" hold, will involve no recount. The 7500 votes that were found like buried pirate treasure in the ancient sands of Nickolaus's outdated computer gives Justice Prosser, the conservative incumbent and the swing vote on any Supreme Court ruling on Walker's antiunion bill, just enough of a lead to avoid the potentially embarrassing (and incriminating) scrutiny of a recount.

Adding to the sweet smell of corruption is the fact that Nickolaus is a woman who inexplicably remains in a position of power and influence over elections in her county despite already having been found guilty of hiding electoral data on her personal computer then just as inexplicably given immunity from prosecution.

This is also a woman who openly "smirked" when pressed by county supervisors to join the rest of Wisconsin in the 21st century by updating security measures then refused to implement those measures. If she had, then she would've been prevented from hoarding electoral data for 29 hours, then disseminating the "newly-found" votes to right wing bloggers and radio talk show sympathizers before the MSM for consensus.

Nickolaus also blamed the outdated Microsoft system that should've been long-redundant in any county let alone her own. Basically, it was the Dog Ate My Homework story and she blamed Microsoft Access for not having autosave. But a quick-witted blogger familiar with MS Access from New Jersey saved the day by telling us:
There's just one problem: When you are entering data into an Access database, it is saved when you move to the next row. You don't have to "press 'save'" Now, when you write (an) application in Access (which consists of a user interface in front of an auto-saving Access database with some Visual Basic code behind it to handle navigation, saving, and calculations, you can turn autosave off and put a save button on the screen. But it's hard to imagine an actual Access application where each record is a single screen AND has autosave overridden AND allows you to just navigate to the next record without doing something, such as pressing another button called something like "Next Screen". Of course if you wrote an app like that, and there was unsaved data, you would probably display a pop-up window alerting the user that there is unsaved data. And even if it was an application that was sloppily written (which is quite possible, after all, Access is part of Microsoft Office and any monkey with rudimentary programming knowledge can write an application with it. And even if this application DID display one precinct at a time, and even if it did have a save button, it's hard to imagine that she would "forget to press the save button" for EVERY SINGLE RECORD.

So much for that argument.

So, while more polite and fair-minded souls are "questioning" the validity of her multifaceted reasons for how this could have happened, I am saying outright that there is Republican fraud going on in Wisconsin and all over the country. Despite the debacle after the 2000 election, we've had two more presidential and three more midterm elections with little if any reform of the electoral process.

So, while Republicans hoarsely scream about dark people like Ignacio Lopez being given the right to vote for non-Republicans and the un-indicted, un-prosecuted ACORN, Republican moles and cronies of Republican candidates in important elections are still subverting the will of the people.

We shouldn't have to be worrying in this day and age in the bastion of freedom and democracy about our elections getting stolen in yet another decade when all it does is distract us from union rights being stolen with more dirty Republican tricks.


  1. Wow - just found your blog via Think Progress, and am loving it.

    I returned to Waukesha county recently after 13 years away, and find my state embroiled in all sorts of political shenanigans. After reading this, I'm appalled that voting results are handled in such an unsophisticated, amateurish way! How is this acceptable?? And for all the times I hear about Republicans complaining about Democrats tampering with the voting process somehow, I'm beginning to think that its really just a case of projection - they've been doing it all along, and figure that dems must be doing it, too.


    Keep up the good work. I've saved your blog as a fave, and will be back!

  2. Thanks, Heidi. I step on my tail once in a while but generally I get it right.


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