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Troubled County Clerk Ordered to Step Aside in Recall Elections

County Executive Dan Vrakas gives Kathy Nickolaus two options: resign or have deputy clerk oversee department during upcoming recall race.

It’s two strikes and out for Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, whose latest Election Day pickle led County Executive Dan Vrakas to relieve her of her duties for the historic recall elections in May and June.

According to a statement released Thursday from the County Executive’s Office, Vrakas posed an ultimatum to Nickolaus in an effort to restore confidence in the upcoming election: Either resign as clerk or she designate her Election Day duties to the deputy clerk.

Nickolaus chose the latter.

“Kathy agreed to hand off her election duties to the deputy county clerk in order to avoid my public call for her resignation,” Vrakas said. “In stepping aside, Kathy also agreed to allow outside consultants and county staff to work side-by-side with the deputy clerk to help restore confidence in our election process.”

Vrakas stated that the county plans to move swiftly to examine the problems that arose during Tuesday’s election.

Patch contacted Vrakas’ office for more information, however, a call back was not immediately received. Democratic Party of Wisconsin Spokesman Grame Zielinski wasn't conviced the move will restore the integrity of the upcoming election.

“This is strange news and still offers no great assurances to the voters of Waukesha County that their votes will be properly counted,” Zielinksi said. “Her legacy of incompetence has made this so.”

Vrakas' announcement comes just two days after , when some election results weren't posted until 10 hours after the polls closed.

Nickolaus, who garnered national attention last April when her office made a mistake that , said she introduced new procedures Tuesday to follow guidelines set forth by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state.

As a result, some elections results were not posted on the county's website until 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Nickolaus told Patch Wednesday she blamed the procedures set by the GAB for slowing down the vote counting.

“We felt that the process was very cumbersome,” she said. “We need to have a better process before May, and I’ll be contacting the GAB about that.”

This isn't the first problem in the Waukesha County Clerk's office.

After Nickolaus was criticized for not posting results online in last spring's state Supreme Court race, in which the entire City of on election night. in the razor-thin election from Kloppenburg, who had declared victory, to Prosser.

Had Nickolaus posted results online, someone would have caught the zeros for the City of Brookfield in the countywide total, some critics said.

Carolo April 07, 2012 at 01:55 AM
When one person makes this many mistakes, then they need to go no matter what party they are in favor of. Shoddy voting errors have no place in the 21st century with voting machines and computers running the numbers. To "forget" a whole county in the Judical race was bad enough and mistakes had been made even before that. And then in the recall race, that same county was the last to turn in the voting results again. And now again this week more errors?
Randy1949 April 07, 2012 at 04:28 PM
@Mike --No, the sour grapes are about the fact that her shoddy system managed to report an incorrect vote count on election night by 'forgetting' and entire city's results. A mistake of that magnitude happened nowhere else in the state -- just Waukesha County. Obviously, nothing is official until the votes are certified, but we expect better out of the County Clerk in such an important county as Waukesha. Why is it that she has such a hard time getting her act together? Throw in her previous political history, and we'll all be happier if she's not in charge of reporting what is sure to be some very close elections in June and November.
The Anti-Alinsky April 07, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Carolo, did you have the same outrage with the voting irregularities in the city of Milwaukee in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010?
Clark April 07, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Too bad the 'very close vote' you predict in June won't be very close. This time the margin of victory will be larger. Vote Walker 2010, 2012 AND 2014!!!!

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