Thursday, May 5, 2011

Serious Questions In Supreme Court Election Recount

Some serious questions are being asked in Waukesha County during the recount for the Wisconsin Supreme Court election. This morning, the Kloppenburg campaign objected to the counting of votes from six "improperly sealed" ballot bags from the City of Brookfield, the city whose votes were presumably not counted by Kathy Nickolaus on election night because of computer error. Unbelievable!

Even though the Kloppenburg campaign objected, those in charge pressed to count the votes. Amidst strong opposition, the retired judge appointed to temporarily take Nickolaus's place allowed the Kloppenburg campaign representative to question the Brookfield City Clerk on the record first. However, the judge abruptly stopped the questioning before the clerk had answered all of the questions.

If there were ballot bags in Wisconsin that needed to be handled with more care than others, it's the ballot bags from Brookfield. I'm absolutely shocked, and it's evident that a real investigation of Waukesha County must occur. What's worse, many people (including Prosser) say these issues are normal. Such carelessness with our elections is inexcusable!

There's video, transcript and more analysis written by the DailyKos's great Giles Goat Boy here. A copy of his transcript of the questioning follows:
JK Representative: To your knowledge were the bags secure while you, while they were in your possession?

Schmidt: Yes they were and…we keep them in a locked vault until they’re taken to the county. It’s always a problem with sealing these. They have one hole in the bag. Unfortunately when you just fold them over, if you have too many in there, you can see how they will tear when you pick them up like this.

JK Representative: These weren’t torn, Kris, they were open…

Schmidt: I understand, but they will also come apart. If you take a look at that. When you see the ones we do in the absentee canvas, I seal them and…I actually punch holes and weave something in there. This is a training experience for me to tell my co-workers. I guarantee you these ballots were put in and not tampered…with…until they left my…city hall and were taken to the county and I’m sure the same situation was there.

JK Representative: Can I ask, who other than you has access to the vault?

Schmidt: To the vault? My staff. Other people can go in but I guarantee you we are not friendly after an election. They don’t come and visit us.

(After some crosstalk, the Prosser reps ask a couple softball questions, then the judge continues)

Judge Mawdsley: Ok, all right why don’t you do this…you can ask the clerk questions on the side if...(unintelligible)

JK Representative: I’d like to get this on record, though. After you’ve taken them into your possession, they’re stored in the vault. There’s another step, though before they arrive here, is there not?

Schmidt: Yes

JK Representative: Would you go over those steps?

Schmidt: Essentially they usually put them – the fellows from the highway department, which most clerks use to transport things – put them in boxes and them bring them in to the county. And that’s done the next day. I think we left ours…(unintelligible)...we left ours about 3 o’clock in the afternoon to go to the county.

JK Representative: And do you know what happens to them when they arrive at the county?

Schmidt: Actually, not. I think they had to call… (waves her hand dismissively at the questioner) You can’t expect (unintelligible)…

Judge Mawdsley: OK. That’s enough for now, you can talk to the clerk on your own…(unintelligible)

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