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Clerk behind disputed Wisconsin election results has similar discrepancies in her past

A Daily Kos user diary posted late last night reveals that the current dust-up over misplaced votes in the recent Wisconsin State Supreme Court election isn’t the first time Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus — who worked for Republicans in the state legislature while the incumbent judge David Prosser was the leader of the House GOP — has been at the center of an election discrepancy. In at least two earlier elections, Waukesha County tallies for elections won by Republicans have had suspicious inconsistencies.

The blogger who looked at the data reports that according to Waukesha County election results, nearly 98 percent of registered voters participated in the 2004 election, out of a similarly large pool of voters — over 83 percent of those eligible to vote are registered in Waukesha, according to the same figures. Since people are able to register on the same day they vote, voter turnout is generally taken as the percentage of the voting-age population that actually votes in a given election. Using this standard metric, Waukesha County’s 81.4 percent voter turnout in 2004 was much higher than the national average of 55.3 percent that year. Still, a particularly vigorous voting population is circumstantial evidence at best for anyone looking to prove the allegations of fraud and conspiracy that have been hurled at Nickolaus since last week.

Another set of data, however, may be far more damaging to Nickolaus in the coming weeks. The Daily Kos poster found among Wisconsin state election records the results that were submitted for Waukesha County in the November 2006 election. From the Daily Kos post:

So, do you see it? In the race for Governor/Lieutenant Governor there were a total of 176,112 votes cast. For Attorney General there were a total of 174,047 votes cast. And for Secretary of State there were a total 170,440 votes cast.

So, look at the 3rd line of the top of that report…Total Ballots Cast: 156,804. So based on those numbers 20,000 extra votes were cast in the election that weren’t actually accounted for in the ballots cast.

At least one Daily Kos commenter has pointed out that the totals that appear on the Waukesha County website aren’t necessarily the official totals recorded by the state after going through a canvassing board. Yet the fact remains that these are the results reported by Nickolaus, the same person responsible for the sudden appearance of thousands of votes that swung the state Supreme Court election in her party’s favor.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) has submitted a request to the Justice Department to investigate the Supreme Court election returns. If that request is honored, Wisconsinites will soon see whether Nickolaus’s discrepancies are a series of innocent and unrelated data quirks or if something more deliberate is at play.

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