Clerks' emails included as evidence - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Clerks' emails included as evidence for Kloppenburg's special investigation request

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MADISON (WAOW) -

E-mails from several county clerks have been submitted as evidence in JoAnne Kloppenburg's complaint against Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.

Kloppenburg challenged sitting Supreme Court Justice David Prosser for a seat on the high bench, losing to him by 7,316 votes after Nickolaus found 14,000 votes from Brookfield that weren't tallied.

Kloppenburg's campaign requested a special investigation into the Waukesha Clerk's Election Day procedures.

In a letter detailing the complaints against Nickolaus, Kloppenburg's lawyer writes, "The county clerks across the state appear to be a close-knit group. GAB staff, by necessity, have frequent interactions with all of the county clerks relating to elections. It is natural that these frequent professional interactions develop into friendship and a mutual trust between GAB staff and the county clerks. The GAB staff have a legitimate business need to maintain their close working relationship with all of the county clerks. This need conflicts directly with the need for a thorough, objective investigation into a county clerk's possible misconduct, abuse of discretion, and violations of state law that could result in civil or criminal sanctions."

Kloppenburg's lawyer further writes that the environment "undermines the Government Accountability Board staff's effectiveness and credibility in conducting an investigation into Ms. Nickolaus' actions relating to the spring election."

An email from Clark County Clerk Chris Jensen was submitted along with the complaint. Jensen wrote an email empathizing with Nickolaus. "We are all behind you," Jensen wrote. "As a County Clerk, we understand how hectic things are on election night an how easily something like this can happen. Stand tall, stay strong and don't let them get you down."

Forest County Clerk Ann Mihalko's email to Nickolaus was also submitted. "Just wanted you to know I am thinking of you. Take care!" wrote Mihalko.

In addition, Kloppenburg's lawyer included Price County Clerk Jean Gottwald's email as part of the complaint. "Hope you having a good (or at least better) day!!" Gottwald wrote.

Vilas County Clerk David Alleman sent an email in response to what appears to be an email sent to all Wisconsin County Clerks. "I have nowhere near the number of returns that Kathy deals with; Vilas only voted about 6800 people on April 5," wrote Alleman. "Still an above normal turnout. One of my largest towns ran out of ballots about 5 PM. They used the touch screen and copied paper ballots. Everybody that wanted to vote did; no one was turned away. Wispolitic picked up the story and I was slammed Tuesday night with some pretty ugly e-mails accusing me of incompetence and calling for my removal. 2 years ago in a like election, with a supreme court race and local contests on the ballot, this town turned out 449 voters. They had been given 500 ballots, to close for my comfort. This election, the supreme court race was the only item on that town's ballot, no other contests at all. I gave them 750 ballots and 976 people voted. Go figure. Of course, the political ads, which were relentless, began in this media market well after the ballots were ordered and delivered. I know how I felt Tuesday night and I can't imagine the grief Kathy is going through right now. We all need to stand behind her."

In a separate e-mail, Wood County Clerk Cindy Cepress wrote, "We all know it could happen to anyone. Our support is with you. Good thoughts going out to you!!!!!!!"

In total 16 e-mails were submitted along with the complaint. You can read all of the documents related to this case in the PDFs attached to this story.

In addition to the special investigation, Kloppenburg formally requested a recount for the Supreme Court race on Wednesday. Voter turnout for the April 5 election exceeded expectations. Returns showed Kloppenburg defeated Prosser by about 200 votes on election night. However the 14,000 Brookfield votes changed the results.

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