Let’s cut right to the chase. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website:In a political bombshell, the clerk in a Republican stronghold released new vote totals adding a net total of 7,582 new votes in the tight state Supreme Court race to Justice David Prosser, swinging the race significantly in his favour.
Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said Thursday that she failed to save in her computer and consequently report 14,315 votes cast in the city of Brookfield, omitting them entirely in an unofficial tally released after Tuesday’s election. The new totals give 10,859 more votes to Prosser from Brookfield and 3,456 more to Kloppenburg, she said. Smaller discrepancies turned up in two other communities as well.
This has significant repercussions. (1) It is unlikely that the re-canvass of Tuesday’s vote will yield anything like this kind of net gain for JoAnne Kloppenburg, who led the unofficial vote tally Wednesday by 204 votes. (2) Assuming that the re-canvass reveals the normal clerical errors (which a re-canvass almost always does) and those errors are more or less evenly split (which they usually are) then it is likely that Justice Prosser will be the winner at the end of the re-canvass of the statewide vote. Assuming a roughly 7300 vote lead for Prosser (all else being equal), a recount would no longer be paid for by the state of Wisconsin. The state only pays for recounts when the margin is razor-thin. This margin is more like steak-knife thin. Which means the challenger pays for the recount.
There will be more bends in the road here, so the final result is a long way from being “official” or “certified.” But if everything else stays more or less the same, Judge Prosser will emerge the winner.
An emailer asked me, given this new data, if I stood by my analysis of the results. The answer is “yes,” although obviously the sting of actual defeat for the GOP is removed. But any time a political party goes from winning comfortably to winning by a whisker (again, if the new vote tabulation stands), the trend-line is going in the wrong direction. If the Republicans don’t read the results as a cautionary tale, they’re kidding themselves.