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WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Please limit discussion in this area to local and state politics.

Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby snoqueen » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:34 pm

I'd still like to know if polling place staff were making people show ID in Waukesha County.
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby Average Joe » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:51 pm



The citizens of Waukesha county demand they have a clerk that is able to steal statewide elections without coming across like an incompetent Barney Fife doppelgänger.
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:58 pm

We won't have Kathy Nickolaus to kick around anyone.

Embattled Waukesha County clerk Nickolaus won't run again

Of course if Walker wins his recall election, he'll probably quietly (late on a Friday) appoint her to a plum state job.
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby Mad Howler » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:36 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:We won't have Kathy Nickolaus to kick around anyone.

Embattled Waukesha County clerk Nickolaus won't run again

Of course if Walker wins his recall election, he'll probably quietly (late on a Friday) appoint her to a plum state job.


Erh, who has been kicking who?
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby Shorty » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:07 pm

What a waste of money she was. At least she is leaving.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/i ... 44125.html
Investigating, fixing Nickolaus election errors to cost $256,300

"A consultant's report traces problems in reporting Waukesha County election results directly to mistakes by outgoing County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus - mistakes that will cost county taxpayers more than a quarter of a million dollars to fix...Nickolaus, a Republican, agreed to withdraw from directly overseeing this year's gubernatorial recall election after County Executive Dan Vrakas, a former GOP legislator, threatened to call for her resignation if she didn't hand off her election duties. She also announced she would not seek re-election in November."
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby Shorty » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:16 pm

I think they are referring to the April 2011 election.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/n ... 03205.html
Nickolaus changed software before April election breakdown

"Sometime after final testing of Waukesha County's election software - but before the April election - County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus mysteriously changed something in her office's computer programming, according to a consulting firm's report released Tuesday. Only Nickolaus knows what she did. The consultants can't figure it out, and she's not talking."
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby snoqueen » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:34 pm

From Shorty's link:

...the report says, Nickolaus made a programming change between the end of testing and election night.

"It is unclear what changed in the programming of the (election) software, but something was changed in the ballot program," the report says. "The county clerk acknowledged that a change took place, but did not specify what was changed."

....The report portrays the April breakdown as part of a larger problem in which the clerk's office has provided insufficient backup for its systems and staff.

Another issue is that many voting machines do not have a federally approved modem to transmit results electronically to the clerk's office, the report says....

In 2008, Nickolaus proposed spending $600,000 in the 2009 budget to buy 100 new voting machines from Sequoia Voting Systems, but then withdrew that request, the report says. Cummings said the project died after the county purchasing office told Nickolaus she had to seek competitive proposals for a contract that size.


They're transmitting their election results by modem? (or not)

She wouldn't allow competitive bidding for the new voting machines?

What was her agenda, anyway? How do we know she's really gone? Who was she really answering to, or serving?Won't anybody do a forensic investigation of her computer to figure out what she was trying to do to that program? Waukesha County may be only one county, but in certain elections it can deliver the entire state to the Republican candidates.

To be fair, it sounds like some of the officials are sincerely trying to investigate this matter. But can you imagine how much screaming the Republicans would be doing if this happened in Dane County instead of Waukesha?
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby Cornbread » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:43 pm

eriedasch wrote:Why do we even have a GAB if their rules and procedures will not be enforced?

Maybe the doyle loaded gAb is little more than a comic strip?

Petro wrote:You have to wonder if she's truly oblivious to the embarrassing extent of her own incompetence or if she's actually painfully aware of it.

Totally unaware of it. She's a great example of why the Tea Party exists--get rid of the dead weight.

speaking of dead weight, feingold will be teaching now in appleton. Then he'll be teaching at stanford. Has he ever had a real job? And he was ya'll's dream.......
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:13 am

snoqueen wrote:From Shorty's link:

...the report says, Nickolaus made a programming change between the end of testing and election night.

"It is unclear what changed in the programming of the (election) software, but something was changed in the ballot program," the report says. "The county clerk acknowledged that a change took place, but did not specify what was changed."

....The report portrays the April breakdown as part of a larger problem in which the clerk's office has provided insufficient backup for its systems and staff.

Another issue is that many voting machines do not have a federally approved modem to transmit results electronically to the clerk's office, the report says....

In 2008, Nickolaus proposed spending $600,000 in the 2009 budget to buy 100 new voting machines from Sequoia Voting Systems, but then withdrew that request, the report says. Cummings said the project died after the county purchasing office told Nickolaus she had to seek competitive proposals for a contract that size.


They're transmitting their election results by modem? (or not)

She wouldn't allow competitive bidding for the new voting machines?

What was her agenda, anyway? How do we know she's really gone? Who was she really answering to, or serving?Won't anybody do a forensic investigation of her computer to figure out what she was trying to do to that program? Waukesha County may be only one county, but in certain elections it can deliver the entire state to the Republican candidates.

To be fair, it sounds like some of the officials are sincerely trying to investigate this matter. But can you imagine how much screaming the Republicans would be doing if this happened in Dane County instead of Waukesha?


The undisclosed coding changes after testing was done, as well as deciding not to get new machines after she was told it would have to be bid out really does put a less different twist on the issue. It really seems to be less bumbling and more conniving. It sounds like there wasn't any sort of code management/auditing system in place as well, which means it's completely possible that she took out what ever change she put in, prior to the consultants looking at the software.

Of all the possible changes to our constitution that the legislator needs to look into, changing how a county clerk is selected really seems like it should be a top priority.
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby snoqueen » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:02 am

I'm not sure that's the issue. You can elect qualified or unsatisfactory officials (in which case they serve at the pleasure of the people), or you can appoint qualified or unsatisfactory officials (so they serve at the pleasure of whoever appoints them, directly or indirectly).

In general, I think we have to trust the process, which works the vast majority of the time for offices at all levels of government.

Most county clerks do OK. What we seem to have here is one who doesn't meet minimum standards of either competency or public responsibility, and moreover is not cooperating with attempts to find out what she was doing while in office.

What's the procedure for investigating a county clerk gone bad? Who initiates it? Who oversees the investigation? Waukesha County needs to get started. I'd think the people there would demand it, regardless of political preferences.

It really seems to be less bumbling and more conniving. It sounds like there wasn't any sort of code management/auditing system in place as well, which means it's completely possible that she took out what ever change she put in, prior to the consultants looking at the software.


Agreed. Someone needs to impound that computer (or the whole system) right away and find out whether or not this "change" (or bits of it) can be tracked down forensically. The longer they wait, the longer someone else has to either destroy or further obfuscate whatever was done, if they feel that to do so is more important than ensuring election integrity.

Probably another reader on this board knows more than I do about investigating changes to various files in what I'm guessing is a Windows system and can discuss the possibility/impossibility of burying all one's tracks when tweaking a program.

Because election fraud could be in play, would it be possible to question Nickolaus under oath? Would this be a matter for the county DA, the GAB, or who?

By the way, I'm not saying for one minute the results of any particular recent election are being put in question, so don't pretend otherwise.
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby jjoyce » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:17 am

There's a fork in the road on the Nickolaus case:

1. Incompetence. When challenged, her methods turned out to be garbage. The Republicans who defended them are often fond of pointing out areas of government that would never stand up to scrutiny in the private sector. Ask anyone who deals with audits of any scope and they'll tell you that Nickolaus' shop was woefully unprofessional based on her explanation for how things worked. She didn't have her shit together enough to even provide a comforting cover story. It's like she wasn't even running the show, which is what leads many to consider...

2. Something more nefarious. Does Nickolaus need to be a conspirator to be declared criminally incompetent? If you idiotically screw up your taxes because you don't know what you're doing -- as opposed to purposefully working to dodge paying them -- and the IRS investigates, are you not still on the hook for penalties? Is ignorance a defense? There are systems in use in other counties, many of which have far fewer resources than Waukesha, one of the state's wealthiest. That things are the way they are there relies on Nickolaus' ignorance of best practices.

The people who defended Nickolaus and then went after Racine are frauds. Pay attention to who they are.
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:24 am

snoqueen wrote:By the way, I'm not saying for one minute the results of any particular recent election are being put in question, so don't pretend otherwise.
Anyone fearful of this possibility should remind themselves that one of the few things we know for certain about Nicklaus is that she is incompetent. So even if she tried to do anything conniving, chances are her own ineptitude resulted in failure.
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby rabble » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:49 am

Having been part of many projects managed by incompetents, I must respectfully disagree. Almost all of them were successful. All had glaring errors, missed deadlines, angry staff, and a few non-critical but high profile tasks that were never completed. But the main, essential goals were met, usually in an extremely sloppy and frustrating fashion.

If she was trying to throw the election quietly, she failed. Otherwise it looks to me like any project with a manager who is better at covering her tracks than leading and planning.
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:56 pm

Shorty wrote:I think they are referring to the April 2011 election.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/n ... 03205.html
Nickolaus changed software before April election breakdown


Missed this earlier, but the break down they are referring to was this April, not last April. When they tried to enter in the election data in to their new software, it didn't accept it. Last year's issue with reporting results to the AP was an user error, not a software error.
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Re: WTF, Waukesha?!?!

Postby Cornbread » Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:46 pm

jjoyce wrote:But what do they have to say about the ass-backward operations of the state's most conservative county?

Most of the folks I've heard talk about it state she's an embarassment and shouldn't be there. I think the caught her in a lie (charlie sykes) where she said others had been trained in the software, but it turned out that wasn't the case...it all went through her. Looks like a case of "castle building". She needs to be gone.

It would be interesting to compare and contrast the 'problems' in waukesha vs. racine in the recall election. From what I know, waukesha seems like on person's incompetence vs. the impossible to verify same day registration/voting, open ballot bags, and not signing 'new' registration forms before actually Mr. Ghost votes, prolly early and often...
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