It's been very troubling that the Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus has refused to provide a clear explanation of her error for more than six days, and now I think it's crucial that supporters of workers' rights demand that she answer our questions now. Nickolaus needs to answer the relevant questions that many people have asked before we consider counts official. The Democratic member of the Waukesha County Board of Canvassers asked some questions here, and I asked some other questions that I believe are critical here.
Everyone should loudly demand Nickolaus answer these questions about her election system and her vote counting process before we spend money to try to find their answers. However, supporters of workers' rights have a particular interest in this election, collective bargaining rights and the collective bargaining bill. We know that the outcome of this election could potentially change the collective bargaining bill into the collective bargaining law.
There's only one county that has yet to finish their canvass, Milwaukee County. Once Milwaukee County completes their canvass, it's possible some people will consider all of the vote counts official. We thought Milwaukee County might complete their canvass Monday or Tuesday, but they're expected to finish Wednesday.
Once all of the vote counts are considered official, a losing candidate has three business days to request a recount. Even then, the results of a recount depend upon review through the courts. So, as in the 2000 presidential election, Kloppenburg may have truly won, but the court may decide differently or prevent further counting. The current Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to decide against collective bargaining rights more than a court with Kloppenburg.
The following is pure speculation, but I think it has some warrant.
Some within the Wisconsin Republicans, made up mostly of people against collective bargaining rights, may know that Kloppenburg won. Since the public knows very little, we don't know if the vote counts from Waukesha County are skewed or not. A recount or investigation could uncover that Kloppenburg won, or they may not. Either way, some of the Republicans could be hoping to wait this controversy out until the counts are considered official and then expect Kloppenburg to request a recount.
However, a recount, which in the end could show that Kloppenburg won, will take a long time, possibly months. I'm not sure what would happen if the recount is ongoing when the collective bargaining bill comes to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, if it does, but my sense is that the current court would take up the case. That means, even if Kloppenburg truly won the election, Prosser may end up deciding cases on the collective bargaining bill.
All that these Republicans would need to do is keep quiet and wait until the counts are considered official. Then there is very little chance that a prolonged recount can be prevented. They know that they may still get at least one thing they want with a recount, even if Kloppenburg is the true winner. The only thing they would need to do to delay, or outright prevent, Kloppenburg's inauguration is keep quiet.
Once the recount starts, many of these questions will be forgotten, and the election system in Waukesha County will probably suffer from it. It may turn out that the Brookfield votes were included in the original count from Waukesha County. Votes may be found in some other city that push Kloppenburg ahead. Who knows what happened, because we have very little information and Nickolaus refuses to provide any more. Either way, no one will think it's a big deal, but Prosser will have already shot down collective bargaining rights.
One question that comes to mind is, why would Nickolaus put her career at such risk? Well, the Secretary of State from the most controversial state in the 2000 presidential election, Katherine Harris, received a political boost from the mess in that state. She became one of Florida's members of the U.S House of Representatives in 2002. So, one might think the same could be done again from a political position in control of vote counts and that such a move isn't as much of a risk, and I believe such a mess could be created without committing fraud.
Whether that speculation is correct or not, it's Nickolaus's duty to provide answers to relevant questions regarding the election before votes are considered official and before any recount. It's our duty to demand those answers now!
If you haven't read my questions for Kathy Nickolaus, or the statement from the only non-Republican member of the Waukesha County Board of Canvassers, please do. I believe the answers to our questions should matter to every voter and tax payer in Wisconsin because, as I explained in that post, our computer election systems are the final word in our elections.
A world-renowned security expert, Bruce Schneier, described some of the very real issues with election systems after questions over election security during the 2004 elections. The only way we can avoid situations like the one in Waukesha County is to demand open election systems that give our elections real transparency. A non-profit organization that has been successful in these efforts is the Open Voting Consortium (I don't know them or have any affiliation).
If you want to have your voice heard regarding the issues with the security and accuracy of the Waukesha County election system, the delayed explanation we were given for the missing votes, and Nickolaus's refusal to answer further questions, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has a complaint form here: http://gab.wi.gov/node/1282. The election official in this case is Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.
There are a few other ways you can help push Nickolaus to answer our questions now. Spread the word. Tell your friends and family about the questions you have and why you think Nickolaus should answer those before all of the vote counts are considered official. Contact the press and your state representatives, and demand to have our questions answered before the counts are considered official.
We haven't been loud enough so far. Contacting the press may prove to be most effective, and Facebook and Twitter are effective as well, so don't forget them. Time is of the essence.
Updated: (9:19pm) Some minor edits to the first paragraph and the fifth paragraph from the end to include the statement from the Democratic member of the Waukesha County Board of Canvassers, Ramona Kitzinger.
Updated: (9:38pm) Clarified the first paragraph mentioning the 2000 presidential election.
Updated: (10:45pm) Added talking to friends and family as a way to help push Nickolaus to answer our questions now, and added last paragraph - so I changed the first Updated so that my references to paragraphs still make sense.