I’ve never been overly impressed with the conservative blog Legal Insurrection. Written Cornell Law School Associate Clinical Professor William Jacobson, you’d expect a little intellect mixed in with all the reactionary nonsense. Something like conservative law professor Ann Althouse. But a professorial mind is not necessarily a sharp one, as Jacobson so often demonstrates.
And today’s demonstration comes in the form of a complete misrepresentation of recent history, followed by a stunning misunderstanding of math. And away we go:
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an editorial today calling on Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus to resign prior to the June 5 recall elections because of her late reporting of votes in the Prosser-Kloppenberg contest last year and in the recent Republican primary. In neither case was her count inaccurate, merely delayed.
Hold on there bud. They weren’t inaccurate? The Prosser-Kloppenberg race is infamous for Nickolaus’ inaccuracy. For those who don’t remember, Kloppenberg was running for Supreme Court judge against incumbent Prosser. The numbers were tight all night and then the results for Waukesha County came in. It appeared that Kloppenberg had the thinnest of victories. But the next day, Kathy Nikolaus found a whole bunch of votes she’d overlooked. Waukesha is a conservative county, so those votes put Prosser over the top. To say the count wasn’t inaccurate is just miles away from the truth. There was even a recount and Waukesha County still ended up with a different tally. Three different sets of numbers in one race? Jacobson’s got a real low bar for what he considers accurate.
And then comes the lousy math part. Conservatives excel at lousy math. The Journal Sentinel offers the nightmare scenario, where Nikolaus’ incompetence brings about a Bush v. Gore-like crisis.
Imagine this: It’s 9 p.m. on June 5, recall election day, and the polls have been closed for an hour. Wisconsin has come to the end of a bitter recall campaign that pitted Gov. Scott Walker against a Democratic contender, and county clerks across the state are counting votes. Both sides spent a ton of money and spewed vicious ads, and the election rests on a thin slice of undecided voters. It’s expected to be a razor-thin margin, and no one can guess who will win….
The elections at stake between now and when she leaves office – assuming she loses her own re-election campaign in the fall – are just too important to leave in Nickolaus’ hands. They include not only the gubernatorial recall but local and state elections as well as a presidential campaign in the fall. A presidential election, by the way, that also could be razor close in Wisconsin.
“Voter ID!” Jacobson shrieks. “Voter ID!”
Yes, the recalls, presidential and other elections may be razor thin, and vote counting integrity, both in appearance and reality, is critical.
If the elections are so razor-thin, then even minor electoral fraud, which Wisconsin has experienced in the recent past, could be the difference.
Yet the JS editors side with those who oppose the Voter I.D. law meant to prevent election fraud…
Prosser lead after all the smoke cleared was better than 7,000 votes — after a near tie. As I said, it’s a conservative place — at least, it is when you manage to include the most conservative tallies in your final count. If it really is neck and neck and the nation waits with baited breath for Waukesha, then Romney ought to just go ahead and drop the confetti — he’s won.
But further than that, Jacobson links to a story detailing a whopping 15 case of voter fraud in Wisconsin. I know most people understand this, please indulge our slower, more conservative readers. 15 is not equal to or greater than 7,000. We know from experience that if you’re tied up and waiting for Waukesha, that’s the number you’re going to get. After all, we ran that experiment three times to be sure.
Kathy Nickolaus is an incompetent county clerk. And it seems that Cornell Law School Associate Clinical Professor William Jacobson is an incompetent blogger.