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Wisconsin election worker’s find of uncounted ballots certain to draw scrutiny

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Update: Dems cry foul as massive cache of votes was reportedly stored on a former Prosser aide’s personal computer

Unofficial returns on Wednesday gave the union-backed challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg, a narrow 204 vote statewide lead over Republican David Prosser.

But late Thursday, the county clerk in Waukesha, a Republican stronghold, said that votes not included in earlier totals had resulted in a net gain of 7,582 votes for Prosser.

News of the uncounted votes came as officials throughout Wisconsin were conducting county canvasses, a final review of voting records that allows the state to certify this week’s bitterly contested elections.

The contest was widely seen as a referendum on Republican Governor Scott Walkerand the controversial curbs on collective bargaining that he and his allies passed in the legislature.

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Because Prosser, a former member of the state assembly, is a Republican who expressed support for Walker last fall, opponents characterized him as a proxy for the governor and his anti-union policies, which triggered massive protests and 16 recall campaigns targeting lawmakers who supported and opposed the measure.

Kathy Nickolaus, the Waukesha clerk, apologized for the uncounted votes and blamed “human error.”

She said at a news conference that she had failed to properly save a spreadsheet showing one town’s voting results.

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“I’m thankful that this error was caught early in the process and during the canvass,” Nickolaus said. “The purpose of the canvass is to catch these kinds of errors.”

Even before the Waukesha clerk announced her discovery, any certification was unlikely to bring closure in the passionately fought contest, where the razor-thin margin Kloppenburg had used to claim victory was considered certain to lead to a recount.

If it happens it will be the first statewide recount in Wisconsin in more than 20 years, and could begin next week.

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To help officials prepare, the state’s Government Accountability Board sent out a memo stressing that local officials needed to “maintain all memory device and programing for the April 5, 2011 Spring Election in its original form.”

“We are in unprecedented times in many respects,” the memo read, “but particularly with regard to a potential statewide recount, which has not occurred since 1989 … A thorough completion of the County Board of Canvass at this time may reconcile inconsistencies and issues that will likely save you time and effort in the pending recount process.”

The apparent clerical error in Waukesha is sure to subject Nickolaus and her office to public scrutiny — for the second time in less than a year.

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Last fall, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper reported the Waukesha County Board had ordered an audit of Nickolaus’s office, citing concerns about the integrity of the equipment she used he backup system.

The newspaper said the move came after Nickolaus removed the election results collection and tallying system from the county computer network last spring and installed it on standalone personal computers in her office.

The newspaper quoted an official saying Nickolaus had been “uncooperative with attempts to have information technologists review the system and confirm the backups.”

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(Reporting by Jeff Mayers and James B. Kelleher; editing by Tim Gaynor and Ellen Wulfhorst)

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2020 Election

Do politicians actually care about your opinions? This researcher says no

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Earlier this month, a New York Times op-ed written by two political science professors, Ethan Porter of George Washington University and Joshua Kalla of Yale, discussed their troubling research findings: State legislators, the two claim, don't much care about the opinions of their constituents, even if they're given detailed data regarding their views.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe

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On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.

Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!

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Trump mocked for tweeting he’ll ‘personally vouch’ for rapper A$AP Rocky’s bail: ‘Now name three of his songs’

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Twitter users were both baffled and amused on Saturday morning after Donald Trump tweeted that he would "personally vouch" for the bail needed to release American rapper A$AP Rocky from a Swedish jail.

After receiving a phone call from celebrity Kim Kardashian about the plight of the hip-hop star overseas, the president -- in the middle of a racism scandal himself -- appears to have taken up the cause in an effort to calm racism charges.

Not everyone on Twitter was buying it.

See below:

Just had a very good call with @SwedishPM Stefan Löfven who assured me that American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly. Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative....

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