AP Failing to Update Prosser-Kloppenburg Election Tally, Claiming Moral Victory For Dems

It may be laziness, or it may be failure to recognize reality, but the Associated Press's official tally of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race carried at JSOnline (but note the AP-based URL) still shows Democrat JoAnne Kloppenburg with a 204-vote lead over incumbent David Prosser, and hasn't been updated since Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.

This failure to update has occurred despite the following statement made at the 3:00 mark of the video (HT Hot Air) showing Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus explaining why over 14,000 country votes were not originally reported to the Badger State's Government Accountability Board (GAB), which oversees state elections, at a late Thursday press conference:

These numbers will be reflected in my official results, canvass report, that was submitted to the Government Accountability Board.

Ms. Nickolaus mixed up tenses, but it seems pretty clear that by using the word "official" she is saying that the GAB now has the results, and that they should be reflected in any official reports.

Accordingly, yours truly has updated the AP's non-current scoreboard with the Waukesha County correction and a couple of smaller ones:

WisconsinSupremeRace040511adj

The Winnebago County difference difference was noted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday afternoon, and at that point changed what had been a 204-vote Kloppenburg lead to a 40-vote Prosser advantage. I picked up the more minor Dane County difference, which if done before the Waukesha County disclosure would have put Kloppenburg back into a temporary 3-vote lead, by going to its official canvass results.

As seen above, when all changes I could identify are incorporated, Prosser leads by 7,559 votes, or a margin of 0.5067%. This is ever so slightly above the threshold where, according to Page 2 of the GAB's recount manual, Kloppenburg would be required to pay for a recount: "If the difference (in the total votes cast between the leading candidate and those cast for the petitioner) is more than .5% but not more than 2%, the fee is $5 per ward." In Wisconsin, a ward is apparently the same thing as a precinct.

With the handwriting on the wall, the AP's Todd Richmond tonight went into conposing what was mostly a Democratic Party consolation piece. His old Kloppenburg margin report was the AP's stale number from Wednesday, as he failed to take into account Winnebago County known results change. Also note the direct late-paragraph contradiction of Richmond's earlier assertion that the results represented a "draw" for Governor Scott Walker (bolds are mine):

When a little-known liberal challenged a conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, the once-sleepy race suddenly looked like a backdoor way for Gov. Scott Walker's opponents to sink his agenda.

 

Then a clerk discovered 14,000 unrecorded votes that vaulted the incumbent into the lead. Experts said the results represented a draw for the governor: He didn't lose, but the slim margin means he didn't win big, either. And the close contest could help ensure Walker's opponents stay energized for the next round.

 

The outcome also improves the odds that Walker's collective bargaining law would survive a legal challenge before the high court. Yet it falls short of a clear public endorsement of the governor's policy.

 

The conservative "didn't win by the margin everyone expected him to win by," said University of Wisconsin-Green Bay political science professor Michael Kraft. "If I were Walker, I wouldn't be saying everything is just dandy and people love me."

 

... Democrats and Kloppenburg supporters worked to tap into the anger surrounding the measure. They hoped electing Kloppenburg would tilt the state Supreme Court to the left, increasing the chances that the justices might eventually strike down the law.

 

They attacked Prosser as a Walker clone and sought to tie him to the governor's aggressive budget-cutting agenda. At first it looked as if the strategy had worked.

 

Kloppenburg's campaign surged, and voter turnout in Tuesday's election shattered expectations. Unofficial returns initially showed Kloppenburg with a 204-vote lead out of 1.5 million votes cast.

 

... (19th paragraph -- Ed.) "This is a win for the right over the left. Had Kloppenburg won, it would have been a significant victory" for Walker's opponents, said University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee political scientist Mordecai Lee, a former Democratic state lawmaker.

Instead of looking for silver linings, Richmond would have been better served if he had remembered a famous saying from the mouth of a rather well-known coach of Wisconsin's professional football team: "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." And failing to change the scoreboard doesn't change who wins and loses.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.