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Some Waukesha votes going directly to GAB

Move for quicker reporting follows Nickolaus mishaps

April 20, 2012

Waukesha County municipalities that have the capability of sending vote totals directly to the Government Accountability Board will submit them to the state as well as report them to the county clerk's office during next month's recall elections.

The move is being made so results get reported online more quickly and people have more immediate access to the vote totals through the GAB website, said Shawn Lundie, a spokesman for Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas.

About half of the county's municipalities can send results directly to the GAB.

It's the latest effort to make sure vote totals are reported in a more timely manner after Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus had trouble reporting votes in two elections.

On April 3, citizens checking online for results of the presidential primary and other races were left in the dark for hours after voting ended.

Nickolaus' electronic reporting system didn't work properly. Her staff had to manually enter every vote total for every candidate in every race and every municipality by hand, and then proof them against the voting machine tapes before posting totals online. Results weren't posted until after 2 a.m. April 4.

After that problem, Vrakas said he would publicly call for Nickolaus' resignation unless she handed off her election duties in the upcoming recalls to her deputy clerk. Nickolaus agreed to allow outside consultants and county staff to work with her deputy, Kelly Yaeger, to handle the election.

Nickolaus also was roundly criticized after she omitted 14,000 city of Brookfield votes from unofficial totals in reporting results of the contentious April 2011 Supreme Court contest.

The mistake appeared to give JoAnne Kloppenburg a 204-vote statewide lead when, at that point, incumbent Justice David Prosser held about a 7,000-vote lead. The mix-up contributed to a recount, which confirmed Prosser's win.

Lundie said Waukesha County will continue tabulating the election results. The Government Accountability Board is not taking on additional responsibility in the county, he said.

Sending results to the GAB "is just a way for us to expedite how the numbers are being posted on the Internet for unofficial election results," Lundie said.

The county will have its results online as soon as they can be verified as well, Lundie said.

"We believe that there will be an improvement over the last election. We hope the voting public and the media and other interested parties will have faster access to the unofficial election results on election night," Lundie said.

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