Waukesha Clerk says reporting error in spring election was an "honest mistake"

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel File Photo Image by Journal Sentinel files

Waukesha Clerk says reporting error in spring election was an "honest mistake"

By Jon Byman. CREATED Sep 28, 2011

MADISON - Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus released a statement Wednesday saying, "I am pleased that the investigation confirmed the reporting error in the April 5th spring election was an honest mistake and in the August 9th recall election results were properly reported upon receipt."

She added that, "I will honor all Government Accountability Board recommendations by working with their staff on writing procedural documentation and look forward to rebuilding the trust of Waukesha County residents in the election process as it is the foundation of our democracy."

An independent investigation for the Government Accountability Board has found probable cause to believe that Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus violated state election law on the night of the Supreme Court Election.  However, the investigator also found that the violation was not willful and therefore does not constitute criminal misconduct.

Nickolaus failed to report results from Brookfield on election night.  The failure led to an initial vote total that showed the race was too close to call.  Nickolaus caught the mistake before reporting final vote totals.

"It was pretty clear to me that there wasn't fraud," said, former Dane County Prosecutor Tim Verhoff who conducted the investigation.

While most County Clerks report full results from precincts in their county on election night, Nickolaus only reported a preliminary countywide total.  That meant that no one could see the zeros recorded in Brookfield that night.

Verhoff points out that if Nickolaus has simply released detailed results on election night, her mistake would have been immediately apparent.

The GAB today has ordered Nickolaus to release detailed results on election night.