October 22, 2014

Waukesha tackles voting problems

Waukesha County will spend more than $256,000 to fix problems with election procedures. A committee unanimously approved the spending Tuesday, which is expected to receive a vote before the Waukesha County Board next week.

The decision comes after a consultant’s report identified several factors behind problems with last year’s State Supreme Court election and the presidential primary earlier this year.

The consultant said there was no back-up process for reconciling Election Night totals in the Supreme Court election, which was why Clerk Kathy Nickolaus failed to include 14,000 votes from Brookfield in her countywide totals. That mistake led to a statewide recount in a close contest.

This year, officials said Nickolaus was the only person to be trained in handling new software for the county’s voting machines, and she never tested it before the April elections. Because of that, observers had to count vote totals in the presidential primary by hand and the official results were delayed for hours.

Nickolaus did not attend the meeting where the panel addressed the problems, but county administration director Norman Cummings says the clerk has promised to follow the consultant’s recommendations and work to ensure a better process in the upcoming elections in August and November.