Voting Irregularities in Wisconsin

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The fight over Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's push to change the collective bargaining rules for public sector unions has now spilled over into the courts.  Specifically, into the judicial elections for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where the fate of the legislation will ultimately be decided.  Liberals made a big push to get a progressive judge into the slot who would invalidate the statute recently passed by the Republican Senate.  After a narrow recount, it looked as if the progressive candidate was actually going to eke out a victory--until a county clerk found 8,000 votes for Prosser (the conservative) that hadn't been counted due to a computer error.


I'm not saying that this is definitely fraud.  These things do happen.  But it sure doesn't look good, especially since this county clerk seems to operate her own system outside of the network used by most other Wisconsin county clerks for election results.  I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with running the system on your own, but obviously, when something like this happens, the clerk needs to walk outside observers through exactly what the error was, and how it was detected.  And if necessary, we'd better be prepared for one more recount.

Update: My commenters tell me I have been overtaken by events- the error seems to have been explained to the satisfaction of the local Democrats.  From commenter Colin77:

Exactly: At one point Ramona Kitzinger, a Democratic representative on the canvassing board and vice-chair of county's Democratic party, stepped up to podium to confirm Nickolaus's account. "We're satisfied that it's correct," Kitzinger said of the numbers."We went over everything and made sure the numbers jibed." 
 Further, even on election night Ann Althouse noted that Prosser's numbers out of the county seemed low: 
 UPDATE, 11:43: Dane (Madison's county) is nearly all in. I don't see how Kloppenburg can net more than about 3,000 with what's left of Dane. Waukesha is now shown as completely in, but the numbers didn't change, so I think something may have been misreported. I took the trouble to do a calculation and was going to predict that Prosser would net 40,000 more votes in Waukesha. What happened?" Megan, your hand-wringing seems a bit misplaced.

If so, I'm very glad that my suspicions were wrong.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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