Stepping Aside Is Not Enough For Kathy Nickolaus by: Tyson Kuhrmeier (Occupy Riverwest)
- Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus needs to resign immediately.
In the winter and spring of 2011, hundreds of thousands of people marched around the Wisconsin State Capitol to protest proposed legislation that would destroy or severely limit the rights of public workers in the State of Wisconsin. For months, people showed up by the thousands in the rain, snow, and often frigid temperatures to petition their government to strike down a piece of legislation that would undo over 50 years of peace in the workplace. The protests would become some of the largest and enduring protests in state history. Not since the Vietnam War had there been such outrage and conflict in the state. Yet, in one night, the Republican dominated senate broke the open meetings law in order to pass this contentious piece of legislation. Wisconsin’s history of good clean government seemed to forever be stained. The state became extremely polarized, and talks of politics divided friends, neighbors, and families.
In order to try to restore faith in Wisconsin’s government, a lawsuit was filed claiming that the legislation that had been passed in the senate had been done illegally, because the senate had broken the opening meetings law. The case seemed destine to reach the Wisconsin Supreme Court, so it became clear that an upcoming State Supreme Court election would ultimately determine the fate of Act 10. The election came; voters turned out in record numbers; and it appeared that there might be an end to the divisiveness that had plagued the state for months. There was one problem: Kathy Nickolaus!
On April 5, 2011, the associated press had an unofficial posting of Joanne Kloppenburg beating incumbent Supreme Court Judge David Prosser by a razor edge margin of 204 votes. It was clear a recount would occur; however, no one would have expected what happened next! Kathy Nickolaus, the Waukesha County Clerk, would come out two days later to say that she forgot to save all of the over 14,000 votes for the entire city of Brookfield, Wisconsin! Nickolaus had gone against the Government Accountability’s Recommendation and only reported all of the votes for all of Waukesha County, which could have contributed to this error. Reportedly, she discovered her error within 24 hours of election, but she waited an entire day to report this error! Whether or not this was incompetence or election fraud, Kathy Nickolaus should have never worked as a county clerk ever again! However, she did not resign. Thus, ever since last year’s Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, voter confidence in elections involving Kathy Nickolaus has been dubious at best.
Since last year’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race, Nickolaus has made major headlines twice. First, There was a highly contested state senate race in August of 2011 that would decide partisan control of the state senate. During most of the evening, the challenger, Sandy Pasch, was leading incumbent Alberta Darling. The election ran late in the night. It was a relatively small election, yet votes were still out past midnight. Where were a large portion of these votes still out? You guessed it: Waukesha County. Something that would have been probably perceived as annoying delay in tabulating votes prior to the Supreme Court election, now seemed like a grand conspiracy. The Chair for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin went as far as to accuse Nickolaus on live television of election fraud. Her name was in the top ten trending words/phrases in the world on Twitter. Yet, Nickolaus continued to work as the Waukesha County Clerk.
Inside the Waukesha County Clerk's office the night of the recent April 3rd election.
Then, April 3rd, 2012, Kathy Nickolaus struck again. During the Republican primary, Kathy Nickolaus claims that the memory cards from the clerks working in the various municipalities did not work. The clerks had to resort to looking over the receipts of all of the election data from every polling place. It was a disaster, one that can be highlighted by the ridiculous picture of people scanning over receipts at the Waukesha County Courthouse. Nickolaus failed to report timely election data online as instructed by the GAB, and it led to information about various races not being reported till after 3am the next day.
The errors and lack of timeliness on three separate election days is inexcusable. Nickolaus has agreed to step aside for the upcoming recall elections in June, but it is truly not enough. Three strikes you are out! Wisconsin needs to believe that elections are fair and decided by the people. The GAB has said that Nickolaus stepping aside is an internal matter for Waukesha to decide. Will Nickolaus’ agreement to “step aside” mean that she has no responsibilities on election night? Will this be permanent or temporary? This is why this solution is not good enough! Kathy Nickolaus needs to resign immediately! The faith in Wisconsin’s elections depends on it.
Timeline of the Infamous Career of Kathy Nickolaus:
2001: Kathy Nickolaus is granted immunity to testify in a scandal occurring in the Wisconsin State Assembly.
2005: Sample ballots were distributed to the public for the Waukesha County Executive election. The ballots had a mark suggesting voters should vote for James Dwyer instead of Dan Vrakas.
2006: Nickolaus temporarily skews Republican primary results for the assembly, because she entered the data in the wrong column.
2010: Waukesha County Board orders an audit of Nickolaus’ system, because they say it is secretive and she refuses to cooperate with the county technical staff.
2011: Allegedly forgets to include over 14,000 votes in the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election. Finds the error, waits over a day to report the error.
2011: The votes from Waukesha County are some of the last votes to come in a small state senate election. The votes are out way past midnight, and the Chair of the Democratic Party accuses her of election fraud.
2012: During the Republican Primary, the memory cards brought by the municipality clerks allegedly will not save, and it leads to all of the clerks counting the votes from long receipts posted on the wall of the Waukesha County Courthouse.
2012: County Executive Dan Vrakas asks for Nickolaus to resign or step aside for historic recall elections. She chooses the latter and keeps her position as Waukesha County Clerk.
What Are We Going To Do About It?
We will be visiting Kathy Nickolaus this Wednesday, the 11th to demand that she resign immediately! Please join us! Occupy Riverwest will be providing a free bus to and from the demonstration. This bus will leave the Riverwest Public House @ 4:00 sharp and will leave to return to the Public House @ 7:00. You do not need to register for this bus, just show up and ride. If you do not need to take the bus and choose to meet us in Waukesha, the event will start at 5:00. It is way past time to tell Kathy Nickolaus, in person, that she needs to resign!
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