The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an editorial today calling on Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus to resign prior to the June 5 recall elections because of her late reporting of votes in the Prosser-Kloppenberg contest last year and in the recent Republican primary. In neither case was her count inaccurate, merely delayed.
The JS editors have no confidence that Nickolaus is up to the task of tabulating votes in what is expected to be the “razor thin” recall elections (emphasis mine):
Imagine this: It’s 9 p.m. on June 5, recall election day, and the polls have been closed for an hour. Wisconsin has come to the end of a bitter recall campaign that pitted Gov. Scott Walker against a Democratic contender, and county clerks across the state are counting votes. Both sides spent a ton of money and spewed vicious ads, and the election rests on a thin slice of undecided voters. It’s expected to be a razor-thin margin, and no one can guess who will win….
The elections at stake between now and when she leaves office – assuming she loses her own re-election campaign in the fall – are just too important to leave in Nickolaus’ hands. They include not only the gubernatorial recall but local and state elections as well as a presidential campaign in the fall. A presidential election, by the way, that also could be razor close in Wisconsin.
Yes, the recalls, presidential and other elections may be razor thin, and vote counting integrity, both in appearance and reality, is critical.
If the elections are so razor-thin, then even minor electoral fraud, which Wisconsin has experienced in the recent past, could be the difference.
Yet the JS editors side with those who oppose the Voter I.D. law meant to prevent election fraud:
Monday’s ruling by Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess spells out in compelling argument why Wisconsin’s voter ID law is unconstitutional. The law, he essentially says, creates a new class of citizen who is barred from voting, those without the right form of state-mandated photo ID. That the Wisconsin Constitution does not allow, he says. That’s not the final word – this one was always destined for the state Supreme Court – but Niess makes a good case….
It is curious that the JS editors worry more about delayed but accurate vote counts, and less about voter fraud.
Update 8 p.m. Eastern — Nickolaus has handed off her duties under threat from county officials (Republicans) that they would seek to remove her. The JS editorial was the tipping point, I have confirmed.
Here’s JS’s report of its mission accomplished:
Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas said he would publicly call for County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’s resignation unless she handed off her election duties in the upcoming recall to her deputy clerk.
Nickolaus chose the latter. She agreed to allow outside consultants and county staff to work with her deputy to handle the election, Vrakas said.