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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.

Adam Smith April 06, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Paul what criminal charge? Balanced budget, lower taxes, workers that have to be responsive to taxpayers. Your right this is proably criminal to a union state employee.
Greg April 06, 2012 at 11:44 AM
I don't think it's corruption. Corrupt people tend to (or at least try to) stay out of the limelight. This is pure, unadulterated, incompetence. She's resistant to change and unable to comply with policy. If this was the private sector she would have been fired long ago.
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) April 06, 2012 at 12:16 PM
All you clowns who keep bringing up corruption against this poor lady.....shame. Did it ever occur to you that maybe she was trying to be the opposite of status quo government, and these elections were just too much of a media production for any one person to handle? Even after following GAB guidance, she still couldn't get it right in your eyes. Maybe you can run for her position then if you're an expert in election affairs.
Herbert April 06, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Loved her interview on WISN12 news.. OMG I can only imagine what skeletons she has in her personal closet.
Clark April 06, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Ha! Good one JD! Dope!
Mike April 06, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Thank goodness she is gone now. Good riddence. Now we don't have to worry about 7 or 8 thousand uncounted ballots appearing from nowhere and poof, the election is changed. She was so incompetent it was embarrassing.
csbothsides April 06, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Nuitari- "This poor lady", really??? What about the legal issue in which she got immunity for testifying against others? Got herself out of trouble there. There might not be corruption here, but like everyone else has stated, she is CLEARLY incompetent! She ISN'T an expert in election affairs, which is why she should be fired or resign because in her position, she SHOULD be. And, if she doesn't like the big media production, then she shouldn't be in the job! Comes with the territory!!! This has nothing to do with political party either. Incompetence is incompetence not matter which side you're on.
csbothsides April 06, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Mike- Unfortunately she is not gone- she simply relinquished her duties to the Deputy Clerk for the upcoming recall elections. She should be gone! Anyone else would have been fired after the 1st screw up.
sueinmn April 06, 2012 at 02:41 PM
For the many that bash unions and want to fire teachers or public workers, why should this lady get a pass to keep her job? She clearly is not competent and should be removed or fired. This is a great examply of hipocracy against what many of you rail about. Why keep a paycheck going to someone who clearly is not qualified to remain on the job?
Clark April 06, 2012 at 02:51 PM
@mike - still sour grapes that the correct results were reported in the supreme court case?
Brett Hyde April 06, 2012 at 02:53 PM
The county clerk is an elected position. Outside of a regular election, another unnecessary recall election, or pressure to resign, I don't believe there is any way to get rid of her.
marvin April 06, 2012 at 03:36 PM
For those of you who expressed Pro-Walker and/or Anti-Union comments, I have one question.....why? This country got to where it was because of unions. Walker has given tax breaks to the wealthiest and corporations at the expense of everyone else. Is this what you really want?
Joseph Ernst April 06, 2012 at 03:58 PM
So you admit that walker is corrupt, and you still stand with him?
Jay April 06, 2012 at 04:05 PM
This country was built by the people that you seem to hate. You have mixed up priorities and due to that I would question you "true" patriotism. Is it to country or yourself? Seems like yourself.
Glen Hyde April 06, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Bwahahahahaha!!! Thanks for the humor!
Glen Hyde April 06, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Totally agree and it can't happen soon enough. It's a pity some prefer to keep their head in the sand while voting is rigged in this corrupt county. Clueless....
Glen Hyde April 06, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Seriously? All the other counties in the state have no problem but this county has major problems for 3 elections in a row? Did it ever occur to you that she's as incompetent and corrupt as Walker? Quite frankly, I don't think she could find her butt with both hands and a flashlight let alone mysterious vanishing vote counts that suddenly reappear to swing elections. She's as corrupt as the day is long.
Michael Bixby April 06, 2012 at 07:23 PM
She is absolutely corrupt and the fact that she resists the protocols the other 71 counties put in place proves it. Look, it's one thing to be partisan but another to be a treasonous hack which you Mr. or Ms. Denis seem to be. Corruption is corruption whether Democratic or Republican and the Founding Fathers would roll over in their graves to see what she is getting away with and the treasonous people in the county who let it happen and happily defend her. Shame on you, there's a special place for you in the afterlife and it's very hot.
Michael Bixby April 06, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Except that she long worked for Republican operatives before she was an election official including the Supreme Court justice she found votes for late into the morning and got elected a few months ago.
Michael Bixby April 06, 2012 at 07:26 PM
She resisted GAB guidance and has a history with the Republican party. If you think this is coincidence and somehow the opposite of corruption then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd happily sell to you after you take all of your high-income Wisconsin tax credits at the expense of everyday working people like myself.
Michael Bixby April 06, 2012 at 07:27 PM
She will still have a say with the deputy clerk and I'm not sure who the administrator has contributed money to. We need to be tracking donations and connections to make sure the next election really isn't as corrupt as the last three.
Michael Bixby April 06, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Amen.
Michael Bixby April 06, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Unions gave us an eight hour workday, safety in the workplace, overtime rules, and yet many of today's working men and women forget this. Meanwhile the people who inherited their money and jobs and wealth benefit from Walker and fail to pay their patriotic fair share. Treason, pure and simple. They don't pay their fair share and yet don't work as hard per dollar for the money they bring in. Kind of like Romney. Ship jobs to China and claim that you are some type of successful entrepreneur.
The Anti-Alinsky April 06, 2012 at 08:28 PM
It was the unions of a century ago that fought for eight hour workdays, safety, overtime rules... What has today's unions done besides stand in the way? I keep hearing "fair wages for fair work" but when you have public sector union members making twice as much as an average worker, and not held to any accountable standards, something is wrong. What is it that unions do today? Collect dues Fight against personal retirement accounts in favor of outdated and costly pensions Collect dues Fight to keep bad employees in place despite the damage they do to a company Collect dues Protect senior union members at the cost of newer ones Collect dues Slow down progress in the business world and Collect dues There is a reason jobs are shipped over to China, despite inferior workmanship and materials, and higher transportation expenses, it is more cost effective. Don't be claiming business owners don't work as hard for the money. First of all, they are taking the risk of hiring someone hoping that they will help generate a profit. Second, despite the many, many hours I work beyond 40, I know my employers work even more. And finally, they, however you want to define them, pay more than their share in taxes. The top 25% of wage earners pay 86% of the taxes in this country. Go back to Wall Street, crawl into your tent and think real hard. If you want money, go get a job that produces something that will benefit the United States and society.
The Anti-Alinsky April 06, 2012 at 08:29 PM
BTW, you two jokers have gotten way off topic.
jokr8790 April 06, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Bring the the Carter Center. They have a department that oversees election integrity. The Democrats should have someone shadowing this clerk until the votes are counted to make sure there's no funny stuff this time. If the deputy was trained by the chief clerk then there's no guarantee she'll act appopriately.
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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