The Republican Party of Waukesha County is looking for people with “recount experience.” In an email to members, the party is sending out an “urgent call.”
“We need to have people who have experience in recounts,” the email says.
The email then says that in 2011 a “recount lead to Prosser,” former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser overcame a lead by his opponent by nearly 7,500 votes. (You can click the images below to enlarge the appeal for help.)
It’s clear that the Republican Party of Waukesha County doesn’t have anyone experienced in recounts, at least not the 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court Election statewide recount.
It wasn’t the recount that found the votes for Prosser. During the standard canvassing process, it was discovered that Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus (a Republican) had failed to include the city of Brookfield’s vote totals with the rest of Waukesha County. Nickolaus blamed it on an Excel spreadsheet error.
As a result of the discovery of Nicholas’ error, Prosser went from losing by 204 votes to (eventually) winning by over 7000 votes.
Nickolaus’ error was the excuse needed by Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg to seek a statewide recount even though the margin of victory for Prosser was too large to overcome. At the time, every Republican and conservative commentator criticized Kloppenburg for seeking a statewide recount even though her loss was much narrower than President Donald Trump’s loss (over 20,000 votes) in 2020.
This was not the first (or last) election Nickolaus screwed up, but the Republican Party of Waukesha County never recruited anyone to run against her in the primary election. It was a case of party loyalty over competence.
Nickolaus’ error in the 2011 also became the start of making Waukesha County the butt of a running joke about elections, “crucial Waukesha County,” a joke started by Washington Post columnist Dave Weigel. As in, we’ll know whether Vladimir Putin has been re-elected President of Russia as soon as the votes from “crucial Waukesha County” have been reported.
Nonetheless, it wasn’t the recount that spared Prosser. It was the standard canvassing of election returns.
The actual statewide recount in the 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court race only resulted in a swing of 300 votes or 0.02 percent of the total vote changed. After the 2016 election recount, President Donald Trump increased his margin of victory over Hillary Clinton by just 131 votes out of 2,787,820 total votes cast, or 0.005 percent of the total votes cast.
That’s why former Governor Scott Walker has pointed out that, if the Trump campaign seeks a recount after the canvassing is complete in Wisconsin, it is very unlikely to change the outcome of the election. If the Waukesha GOP knew of someone with experience in recounts, that person would be telling the Republican Party they are wasting their time.