Incumbent David Prosser took a commanding lead in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race Thursday as the Waukesha County clerk announced that some 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield were not counted due to user error in saving the results spreadsheet.
“This is not a case of extra votes being found. This was human error, which I apologize for,” said county clerk Kathy Nickolaus, adding that the canvass procedure is designed to catch such errors.
When asked about accusations of voter fraud, Nickolaus, who is a Republican, cited the canvassing process:
“I’m thankful that the error was found early in the process,” she said. “Anyone who sat in on that canvass could see what we are doing.”
Democratic canvass watcher Ramona Kitzinger was also at the press conference.
“We went over everything & made sure the numbers jibed up and they did,” Kitzinger said. “We’re satisfied that it’s correct.”
Nickolaus said she saved the results in an Access database and got a confirmation that all had gone smoothly, but when she printed the final report for the media, the Brookfield results were not in the tally. Because the voter turnout for the county was already a very high 42 percent, the loss of Brookfield’s votes did not raise any red flags. After Brookfield’s votes were added to the totals, Nickolaus said the turnout in Waukesha went up to 47 percent.
“We have now verified all the results and are confident that they have been accurately reported,” Nickolaus said, saying she takes responsibility for the error. In the future, she said she will do a final check of the spreadsheet totals before passing on her report to the press but said the error “had nothing to do with the election system.”
In Brookfield, Nickolaus said, 14,325 voted. Justice David Prosser got 10,859 and 3,456 went for Joanne Kloppenburg making the totals in the county 92,263 for Prosser and 32,758 for Kloppenburg.