At stake: the 4-3 conservative to liberal balance on the State Supreme Court. Incumbent David Prosser, a conservative, was up for another ten year term. He was expected to cruise to victory, but then GOP Gov. Scott Walker's union-busting activities began in earnest. Suddenly the vote became a referendum on Walker and it seemed the voters may have given him the thumbs down.
That was until Thursday afternoon, some 29 hours after the election. Because 11,000 additional votes were found for David Prosser in Waukesha County.
In a stunning turnaround, the county clerk for Waukesha County, a heavily Republican district in southeast Wisconsin, announced on Thursday evening that she'd failed to count more than 14,000 votes cast in Tuesday's state Supreme Court election. The error, disclosed by a former state GOP lawmaker who's been criticized for her handling of local elections, handed conservative incumbent David Prosser a lead of 7,582 votes, flipping the result of the race after an initial tally put liberal JoAnne Kloppenburg ahead by a mere 204 votes.
The Waukesha clerk, Kathy Nickolaus, a Republican, said in a press conference that the new votes, all of which were cast in the city of Brookfield, were missed because of human error that's "common in this process." Nickolaus apologized for the mistake, saying, "The purpose of the canvas is to catch these kind of mistakes."
An election that drew national attention from observers and political figures, and suddenly not only does the conservative find enough votes to take a commanding lead, but he finds enough votes to take a commanding lead that's more than half a percentage point.
That's right. No recall. Prosser's lead is now .51%. There will be no automatic recall unless JoAnne Kloppenburg pays for it herself. As things stand right now, Prosser is the clear and uncontested winner unless something else happens in the canvasing, after finding just enough votes to win without triggering a recall.
What an astounding coincidence that is. Everybody watching the election, the observers, the Associated Press, both parties, everyone involved happened to miss an entire town of 40,000 people and their voting results until more than 24 hours after the election.
It was a computer glitch by the Republican county official. Just enough of an oversight to give the conservative the lead without a recall, when a recall was assured on Wednesday, in a race that would decide the fate of public unions in the state of Wisconsin and possibly affect the entire country.
You know, comrades," says Stalin, "that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.
Prime example of that maxim happened today, folks.
Prior to the election, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus was heavily criticized for her decision to keep the county results on an antiquated personal computer, rather than upgrade to a new data system being utilized statewide. Nickolaus cited security concerns for keeping the data herself — yet when she reported the data, it did not include the City of Brookfield, whose residents cast nearly 14,000 votes.
Yep. Just an honest mistake, folks. Nothing to see here. Please go about your business, Wisconsin...
Oh, and ACORN BLAH BLOOGITY UNION THUGS BLAH BLAH BLOOGITY BLOO. This was the Right Wing Noise Machine on Wednesday: a recount will clear up this Democrat voter fraud!
As noted yesterday, Kloppenburg is up only 204 votes based on the AP count (not yet official). This is a fight worth fighting, particularly given all the anecdotal evidence of Democratic Party shenanigans (I don't call it "fraud" yet), miscalculations, ineligible voters, car trunks filled with ballots yet to be discovered, and all the other tricks in the Democratic Party bag which were pulled out in Minnesota.
We'll fight this until the end! Justice must be served! Fraud! Cheating! A trunk full of votes will be found!
So when a trunk full of votes were found (just for the incumbent conservative) this is the Right Wing Noise Machine today.
But this is not a time to gloat. If Prosser wins, it is not a win for Prosser or for a particular political party. What is important is that every vote counts and every vote was counted. This is a victory for the democratic process.
So, no need for a recount. Every vote was counted. No fraud here. Accept Prosser's clear win and move on, whiny Libs. Unions are dead, blah blah blah, revenge for your cheating in Al Franken's race, no liberal can possibly win an election fairly. If the conservative does, it's truth and justice and every vote was counted.
Please ignore the Republicans behind the curtain with the Excel spreadsheet and the 14,000 votes on it.
More on this at Brad Blog.