With Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announcing she made an error on election night, which flipped the results of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race to favor incumbent Justice David Prosser, some residents are asking questions as to how often this happens.
But for Nickolaus this isn’t the first time she has found herself embroiled in controversy.
In 2010, Nickolaus and Waukesha County Board Chairman Jim Dwyer and county Department of Administration officials feuded about an audit of her election system. The audit stated Nickolaus is keeping election results on a personal computer as opposed to a county system.
Nickolaus said she kept the results on the personal computer because of security concerns she had with the network. She and Dwyer got into a row at a committee meeting while discussing the findings of the audit.
After announcing the error of omitting votes from Brookfield before giving the results to the media during Tuesday’s election, Nickolaus said the issues addressed in the audit weren’t the reasons for the flipping of the vote and it was simply “a human error.”
Nickolaus and Dwyer didn’t return phone calls seeking comment Friday.
In 2006, Nickolaus found herself in a similar situation as now when computer equipment in her office briefly showed Waukesha Taxpayers League President Chris Lufter beating then Waukesha County Supervisor Bill Kramer in the 97th Assembly District Republican primary race.
Nickolaus told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the time that data was inexplicably put in the wrong columns when it was transferred from the Waukesha city clerk’s office and the results had to be entered by hand.
In 2005, Nickolaus was subject to scrutiny during the special election to replace Waukesha County Executive Dan Finely when sample ballots she submitted to area newspapers included a mark showing a vote for Dwyer, who ran against then-state Rep. Dan Vrakas.
Nickolaus apologized for the incident and told media outlets it was “human error.”
Prior to being elected county clerk in 2002, Nickolaus worked as a staffer in the Republican Caucus at the state Capitol that fueled the caucus scandal where both Republican and Democratic lawmakers were convicted of using staff to campaign using state equipment.
Several lawmakers served time in prison for their roles in the scandal, however, Nickolaus was given immunity in exchange for her cooperation in the investigations.
Prosser had been part of the Republican Assembly Caucus prior to being appointed to the Supreme Court by former Gov. Tommy Thompson, which has fueled further questions by Democrats in the revelation of the unreported votes.