A stunning discovery of votes in Wisconsin could give the state’s hotly contested Supreme Court race to the conservative incumbent in an election with huge implications for educators in that state. The election was largely seen as a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s explosive union rights law, which strips teachers and many other public employees of their rights to collectively bargain.
Adding another twist, the county clerk who said she incorrectly entered vote totals in the race has faced criticism before for her handling of elections and previously worked for a state GOP caucus when it was controlled by the candidate who stands to benefit from Thursday’s revelation.
The corrected totals gave Justice David Prosser a 7,500-vote lead over little-known liberal assistant state attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg, according to unofficial tallies. Before the announcement, it was assumed the race was headed for a recount. The difference between the two had fluctuated throughout the day Thursday as counties began verifying votes, but at one point was as close as 11.
Opponents of the law that takes away nearly all public employee collective bargaining rights had hoped a Kloppenburg victory would set the stage for the high court to strike it down.
Kloppenburg’s campaign manager Melissa Mulliken demanded a full explanation of how the error occurred and said an open records requests for all relevant documents would be filed.