Holes Big Enough
for an Election
to Fall Into
…and why New Yorkers should care
The State of Wisconsin has just completed a statewide recount of a highly suspicious election, a recount that provides truckloads of additional evidence of the dangers of secret vote counting inside computers. Because Wisconsin uses optical scanners to count most votes just as NY now does, this election provides a lesson for us in the near impossibility of meaningful citizen oversight of an electronic election, even when paper ballots are used.
The April 5 Supreme Court election in WI was widely seen as a referendum on the policies of Governor Scott Walker, including the attempted stripping of collective bargaining rights for public workers. The state’s attention was on this vote to fill a 10-year seat on the state’s highest court.
Most of the attention in this WI Supreme Court election recount was focused on Waukesha County, where County Clerk (chief county election official) Kathy Nickolaus had reported the discovery of some 14,000 votes on her office computer two days after the election, reversing the statewide outcome in favor of her former boss, incumbent Justice David Prosser.