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Waukesha Co. Clerk Nickolaus steps aside from election duties

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WAUKESHA, WI (WTAQ) - The county clerk who made a mistake that forced a statewide recount of last year’s Supreme Court election is under fire again.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus had a new vote counting system fail her on Tuesday night. And Thursday, she agreed to let her deputy handle the election duties for the May and June recall contests, with help from other staff members and consultants.

A year ago, Nickolaus forgot to include Brookfield’s 14,000 votes in her tally of Waukesha County’s ballots for the State Supreme Court race – and she didn’t tell anybody until two days later.

As a result, a 200 vote statewide victory for JoAnne Kloppenburg turned into a 7,000 vote win for incumbent David Prosser. A recount confirmed Prosser’s victory.

After that, Nickolaus was prodded by state officials to start disclosing results from each voting district on Election Night, which she refused to do in the past. But her new system caused delays on Tuesday night – and the first returns didn’t get on the Internet until 6 hours after the polls closed.

County Executive Dan Vrakas was not happy. He said he would have publicly called for Nickolaus to resign, had she not given her election duties to her top assistant.

Vrakas said Nickolaus appreciated the importance of restoring confidence in Waukesha County’s Election Night reporting. And he said, “Given the choice to step down or step aside, she made the right decision.” 

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