Turnabout in Wisconsin

I don’t know if anyone was paying attention to Wisconsin this past Tuesday. I had some mild interest in the election going on in Wisconsin. There was a Supreme Court election that was supposed to be close. Ever since the Wisconsin legislature passed the controversial collective bargaining bill last month, there was a push to oust one of the members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, before which challenges to the law would be heard.

David Prosser, the justice that was up for re-election, had easily won his primary election, but was running against JoAnne Kloppenburg, who was viewed by the unions to be much more sympathetic to their cause.

On Tuesday night, and on Wednesday morning, there were reports that JoAnne Kloppenburg had won the election by a very small margin–200 votes, or something like that–and that David Prosser would have to raise money to fund a recount.  The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported:

A recount is all but certain in the race for state Supreme Court, which would pose a host of legal questions, raise the political stakes in efforts to recall state senators, ignite a new bout of political fundraising and further fuel Wisconsin’s ongoing battle over union bargaining.

On Wednesday, nearly 20 hours after the polls closed, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg claimed victory over Justice David Prosser after an unofficial tally showed her holding the thinnest of leads. According to an unofficial tally by The Associated Press, she was up 204 votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast – a margin of 1/100th of a percent.

I went on thinking for several days that there would be a long, protracted recount, as has become the norm, it seems, in the past few years, with no real change in the overall result.

However, I then read, on Friday, that there had been some movement.  Sometime between Wednesday morning and Friday, a routine canvass of votes in Brookfield, Wisconsin, revealed some 14,000 votes that had not been counted, and when they were, Prosser had a not-very-surmountable lead of 7,500 votes.  The Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus apologized for the oversight, and called it human error.  She apparently neglected to save her work after she entered the votes for Brookfield, a suburb of Milwaukee that leans heavily Republican.

Does the term “hanging chad” come to anyone else’s mind when hearing this story?