This is all heading for a recount anyway, but if you were looking for a bit of good news this afternoon, it looks like Justice David Prosser has pulled ahead of JoAnne Kloppenburg in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.
As of this morning, Kloppenburg was ahead by 204 votes, according to an Associated Press statewide tally. Canvassers refined the counts from Winnebago County, and found Prosser picked up enough votes to put him 30 ahead overall. These are considered preliminary numbers and are still subject to change.
To add the fun, election experts have found all sorts of ballot irregularities, including 10,000 ballots in the Kloppenburg stronghold of Dane County that look fishy because only the Supreme Court candidate was selected, leaving various other close state and county races blank.
Poll workers in Dane County have been accused of registering underage voters, and registering to vote twice. A box of ballots in Prosser-leaning Waukesha County seems to have been misplaced, and is now being checked for authenticity. A local radio host claims to have caught the City of Mequon destroying ballots.
Wisconsin doesn’t have a very good record for clean elections. In the 2004 presidential race, something like 5000 extra votes magically appeared in Milwaukee, over and above the number of actual recorded voters. The usual suspects – felons, ineligible voters from out of state, clones – were involved.
Voter fraud remains among the most profitable crimes, with the least risk of detection or punishment. Even if a serious investigation is launched, the fraudster can be confident his chosen candidate will probably be safely seated before anything comes of it.
In a race this close, with election laws as loose as Wisconsin’s, there’s bound to be some skullduggery. As John Fund of the Wall Street Journal describes it, you can “show up at the polls, register, and then cast a ballot,” while “ID requirements are minimal,” and “if someone lacks ID, he can vote so long as someone who lives in the same city vouches for him.” That sounds like something a bit less than airtight security. The recount should be a scream!
Update: Another canvassing report took 113 votes away from Prosser in Grant County, so now it’s Kloppenburg in the lead by eighty votes or so. Enjoy the roller coaster ride!