Forbes: Questions Surround Votes Found in Waukesha County

April 7, 2011- A clerk in Waukesha County, Wisconsin is set to release a new vote tally giving conservative judge David Prosser nearly 8,000 more votes than expected and tipping the balance of the election back to Prosser from Kloppenburg. There’s only one problem. The clerk’s office in question may not be the most reliable in the state of Wisconsin:

"Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’ decision to go it alone in how she collects and maintains election results has some county officials raising a red flag about the integrity of the system.

Nickolaus said she decided to take the election data collection and storage system off the county’s computer network – and keep it on stand-alone personal computers accessible only in her office – for security reasons.

"What it gave me was good security of the elections from start to finish, without the ability of someone unauthorized to be involved," she said.

Nonetheless, Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said because Nickolaus has kept them out of the loop, the county’s information technology specialists have not been able to verify Nickolaus’ claim that the system is secure from failure.

"How does anybody else in the county know, except for her verbal word, that there are backups, and that the software she has out there is performing as it should?" he said. "There’s no way I can assure that the election system is going to be fine for the next presidential election."

Cummings stressed that the voting process at local polling places is not in question. However, municipal clerks send their election night results by dial-up modem to the county clerk, where they are tabulated and stored. That prompted Cummings’ concerns.

It is strange that we should suddenly find over 7,000 missing votes in a county that uses a different system than the rest with little to no oversight of the results. There may not be any fraud at all, but it does raise questions. It’s also a little odd that you have the clerk, Nickolaus, claiming that her system is secure from failure and then somehow magically turning up over seven thousand votes that were missing due to a computer error.


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