The Wisconsin Supreme Court election has now come to an end, with liberal-backed challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg conceding defeat to incumbent conservative Justice David Prosser, in an election that saw numerous interest-group ads — and some controversial errors in vote-counting — in a state that has become the center of political controversy due to Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation.
Last week, the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, certified Prosser as the winner by a margin of 7,004, following a statewide recount that Kloppenburg was legally entitled to request. Tuesday was the deadline if Kloppenburg were to choose to further contest the race in court.
“David Prosser has won this election and I congratulate him,” Kloppenburg said at a press conference in Madison, WisPolitics reports.
Also, as reporter Jessica Arp from the local CBS affiliate reports, Kloppenburg said she will submit a list of anomalies to the GAB, in order to improve compliance with election procedures going forward.
Early on, Prosser was widely expected to easily win re-election, given the advantages of incumbency in terms of fundraising, name recognition, and the organizational backing of the state business establishment and Republican Party in the nominally non-partisan race. However, the widespread protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation quickly turned this into a proxy political battle, and unions brought a late but very energetic effort on Kloppenburg’s behalf in an effort to defeat Prosser, a former Republican state Assembly Speaker.
Wednesday, April 6, the day after the election, Kloppenburg declared victory on the basis of Associated Press figures showing 100% of precincts reported, with Kloppenburg enjoying the very narrow lead of 204 votes out of nearly 1.5 million.
Then that Thursday, as counties were conducting the official canvass to check for errors in their election night spreadsheets that were reported to the media, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus (R) announced the discovery of un-tabulated votes from the city of Brookfield — giving Prosser a net gain of over 7,000 — saying that her own error had resulted in them not being properly imported and saved into the county’s database.
“I’m thankful that this error was caught early in the process and during the canvass,” Nickolaus said at her press conference at the time.
A month ago, shortly before Kloppenburg requested the recount, the GAB released a statement that its study of the vote numbers in Waukesha County found that the totals checked out on the ballot-scanning equipment and other documentation from the municipalities.