Recall Election Ballots Safe Despite Rumors of Destruction
Online blogs accused Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus of planning to destroy ballots from the recall showdown between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Political blogers are accusing Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus of threatening to destroy recall ballots from the June election after open records requests were made to review the ballots.
However, the ballots will not be destroyed at this time, according to Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel.
“Of course, I have an interest in attempting to avoid Public Records Law violations, especially when destruction of the records in question is imminent,” Schimel said in an email to an attorney asking about the situation. “I think this interest is especially significant when the records in question relate to public confidence in our elections.
“Thus, after becoming aware of these issues, I inquired and have been advised that the clerk will not be destroying any records at this time. I do not know whether there is any plan to destroy them at a future date.
“It appears that the clerk could legally destroy the records any time after 60 days have expired from the date of the denial of the records request. I have found no law that requires retention of the materials after that period.”
Nickolaus has been the frequent target of controversy and intense scrutiny after an April 2011 flub left the entire City of Brookfield votes out of county results. The mistake was costly – election results were flipped and a lengthy recount process ensued. She is not seeking re-election to the seat.
Nickolaus has not returned a message left Monday seeking clarification and comment on the accusations. She told the Waukesha Freeman, however, that she has “no intention” of destroying the ballots. The open records request was denied because the request to view hundreds of thousands of ballots would create a large strain on resources in the county clerk’s office, according to the newspaper.
A group called Wisconsin Wave is looking to hand count the votes in the recall election battle between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Walker retained his seat in the bitter recall election. The group made their concerns public online over the weekend alleging that Nickolaus told them she was going to destroy the ballots by noon Monday. However, Nickolaus was not in the office Monday.
Badger Democracy, another blog, is reporting that the ballots will be moved to offsite storage.