Waukesha - When Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said in May that she intended to start providing unofficial election night results broken down by municipality - something that might have flagged the kind of snafu that earned her notoriety after the Supreme Court election this spring - she did not mean all municipal results.
Nickolaus told the County Board's Executive Committee on Monday that she'll change her reporting practices based on advice from the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.
When pressed in committee by Supervisor David Swan as to whether she'd return to past practice of showing results for municipalities, even if the state elections officials don't suggest it, she said, "Not at this point."
Swan later said Nickolaus' answer was a disappointment. He had hoped she would provide the public with one-stop service for finding results on election night, like a number of other counties do, including Ozaukee, Washington, Racine and Dane.
A spotlight has shone on Nickolaus since she failed to include any of the 14,000 city of Brookfield votes in her unofficial April 5 election night report of results - a mistake that reversed the Supreme Court election outcome until she corrected the error two days later in a news conference.
She later said she forgot to save the transmitted results to her computerized report. Because she only released a summary total for county and state contests, it was not immediately apparent that she was missing an entire city's worth of results.
In an email to the Journal Sentinel in May, Nickolaus said she would change her election night unofficial reports "to include a breakdown of all the reporting units." She explained Monday that she was referring to only the races she's responsible for reporting - county, state and federal contests.
Within days of the spring election, the Government Accountability Board did an on-site investigation of Nickolaus' operation and said it would issue a report in July. However, an elections complaint against Nickolaus put at least a temporary halt to the release or discussion of any recommendations.
The complaint, filed by the campaign of JoAnne Kloppenburg, who lost to Justice David Prosser in the Supreme Court race, is currently being followed up by a special investigator, Kloppenburg's campaign spokesman Melissa Mulliken said.
Nickolaus was called before the Executive Committee on Monday to review her response to a county audit that last year raised concerns about election security issues in the clerk's office.
Nickolaus and county Internal Audit Manager Lori Schubert said steps had been taken since the audit to improve security, and additional ones were planned.
In one case, three office employees used the same password to access a computer with election information - a violation of county policy and a practice that weakens an audit trail.
In the other, Nickolaus was not providing sufficient backup of her election-ballot programming work in advance of elections, Schubert said.
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