Baldwin calls for investigation of Waukesha County vote reporting
By Bill Glauber of the Journal Sentinel
April 9, 2011 U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking for a federal investigation into the handling of vote records in Waukesha County in the wake of Tuesday’s election for the state Supreme Court.
Baldwin’s office said she sent the letter Friday night.
Baldwin wrote Holder: “Following this week’s election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, numerous constituents have contacted me expressing serious doubt that this election was a free and fair one. They fear, as I do, that political interests are manipulating the results.”
Baldwin asked Holder to assign the Justice Department Public Integrity Section, which oversees the federal prosecution of election crimes, to investigate.
In Waukesha County, thousands of votes from the City of Brookfield that were not reported by the county clerk on election night were discovered the day after. Justice David Prosser’s margin of victory in Brookfield helped push him ahead of challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.
“We, the people, must be assured that our votes are fairly counted and reported and our democracy remains intact and untainted,” Baldwin wrote.
The Prosser campaign said Saturday a federal investigation was unnecessary.
“We don’t believe there is need for that,” said Brian Neimor, the campaign manager for Prosser. “It’s certainly well within their rights to ask for that. In the end, now that the canvassing results have been reported to the Government Accountability Board, it will be evident that the mistake that was made was a reporting error to the media. That hardly seems like a punishable crime.”
Neimor said the campaign was open to a recount of the ballots in Waukesha County.
“If you need to do a recount in Waukesha (county) and Waukesha (county) alone to satisfy heightened interest, that’s fine,” he said. “We believe it will only affirm the margin of victory we now enjoy.”
Kloppenburg’s campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said, “from our point of view the process here is ongoing.”
The campaign has made an open records request with Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.
“We’re trying to get the relevant documentation to get a fuller explanation of what went on here,” Mulliken said. “We do think there are legitimate questions to be asked.”