GAB response shows inability to conduct impartial recount, investigation

As the anomalies in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election recount continue to add up, the reaction from the Government Accountability Board proves Joanne Kloppenburg’s assertion – they are too close to the people and process to remain impartial. Since the first day of counting in Waukesha county alone, there have been issues with chain of custody and ballot conditions. The Kloppenburg campaign has logged irregularities in the following counties:

Waukesha – From the first day, there have been multipe bags with missing numbers, seals broken, mismatched numbers, and unsigned tags. This includes an “overfilled” bag with a damaged seal, no number, and a hole large enough to put an adult hand in. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/02/972357/-Another-Chain-of-Custody-Problem-in-Waukesha-County

Clark – One of the touch screen machines was missing the tape used to tally ballots. The manufacturer had to be contacted to acquire a new tape, to “recount” the ballots – even though no previous record exists to compare against.

Dane – Full bag of ballots left unsecured in the Town of Verona Clerk’s office (a heavily Republican area).

Dodge County – Beaver Dam – When ballots ran out, the clerk didn’t photocopy ballots; voters wrote their choices on pieces of paper. Those will be counted and debated this week.

Fond du Lac – Large numbers of photocopied ballots.

With the large number of irregularities in Waukesha County;  from the “discovery” of the missing ballots to each of the compromised bags, there should be great scrutiny to assure the election was conducted legally and openly. The GAB has taken no initiative to do so – save the “inquiry” during the canvassing. Any opportunity to preserve evidence was already largely lost by the time Kathy Nickolaus held her press conference. The following email was received from the GAB in response to inquiry regarding the considerable “anomalies” in Waukesha county:

“Magney, Reid – GAB to me

show details Apr 29 (4 days ago)

Hi Scott,
 
Mike Haas referred your questions to me.
 
Events occurring in the Waukesha County recount will be recorded in the Board of Canvassers’ minutes.  Until we receive those minutes at the end of the canvass, we generally do not have information about specific events or issues that were dealt with by the board.
 
Decisions about how to handle issues like the one you describe are the responsibility of the Board of Canvassers.  The board may consult with G.A.B. staff, but the decision rests with the board.  Board decisions can be reviewed by a court at the request of the candidates, either on an emergency basis during the recount, or after the canvass is completed.
 
The G.A.B. does not have observers attending any of the 72 county recounts.  Staff is in Madison, responding to calls and questions from throughout the state.
 
Thank you,
 
Reid

Reid Magney, public information officer

Wisconsin Government Accountability Board”

Understand the importance of this statement – the GAB has no presence in the recount room in Waukesha County. In the county under the most election conduct scrutiny, the GAB is phoning it in. No offense to Ramona Kitzinger, as she is doing her civic duty, but she is in no position to stand strong for an impartial recount (especially under pressure to finish the recount). Any objection is  “duly noted” and the count continues. Unless, of course, either campaign asks for court intervention in a highly aggregious case. The canvass board is instructed to err on the side of counting. All the while, the trail of evidence grows colder. The Kloppenburg campaign may take legal action after the counting ends, allowing the actions of Kathy Nickolaus to remain a large question mark.

Kevin Kennedy and the GAB should have a staff attorney in Waukesha County at least. There should have been a thorough investigation immediately – not just an “inquiry.” The GAB has dropped the ball, and continues to do so. The GAB should own their mistake; call in an independent and competent investigator, and get someone in the room in Waukesha to monitor the chain of custody irregularities. The “summaries” posted by the GAB daily do not account for specific issues, as indicated by Reid’s first paragraph. There have been too many coincidences and irregularites by multiple parties in this election – all with a vested interest. The public’s confidence in the electoral process is slipping away – do we wonder why so many people are disengaged? Do our votes count, or has the entire process been co-opted? Time to step up, GAB – do what is necessary, not what is expedient.

To contact Kevin Kennedy, GAB Director: (608)266-8005

6 thoughts on “GAB response shows inability to conduct impartial recount, investigation

  1. In Rock County, where I was a Kloppenburg campaign observer, there WAS a GAB staff person in the room at several points during the count. He didn’t stay, but he appeared at least twice during the two days I observed the recount.

    • In speaking with Melissa Mulliken from the Kloppenburg campaign, and GAB staff; they have had SOME limited presence – but no one is in any of the recount rooms (as of last Friday) full time as an official monitor – as you can see from the GAB response. The final decisions are left with the County Canvass Board as to what votes count. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Racine County was fairly done and properly done. The County Clerk, Wendy Christensen, was on the ball. I observed there and know that to be the truth.

    That said, I agree with you that the GAB should stay in Waukesha County just to see the mess for themselves. I believe we are headed to a state-wide re-vote all because of whatever Kathy Nickolaus did in that day and a half she had before she finally “admitted” that Brookfield had never been properly counted. This isn’t the Brookfield folks’s fault — this is Kathy Nickolaus’s fault, and the only question now is, is this fraud? Or is this incompetence?

    In either case, Nickolaus should be forced to resign. And if it turns out it was actually fraud — considering there have been really big problems since at least 2004 under Nickolaus’s tenure, things surely look bad (and I thought some of what a County Clerk was supposed to do should have the appearance of being above board and honest as well as actually _being_ above board and honest) — well, she should go to jail.

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