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Wisconsin candidate asks for recount and investigation into vote

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • JoAnne Kloppenburg formally requested investigation into April 5 election Wednesday
  • Initial results showed less than 0.5% difference between candidate totals
  • "Widespread anomalies" cited by Kloppenburg as the reason an inquiry was requested
  • State Supreme Court election has been closely watched in Wisconsin

(CNN) -- A candidate for Wisconsin state Supreme Court justice has asked the Government Accountability Board to investigate possible violations of state election law by Waukesha County election officials.

The campaign of JoAnne Kloppenburg filed a formal complaint Wednesday, asking for the appointment of a special investigator to conduct the inquiry specifically regarding Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.

"It has become clear there are potential violations of Wisconsin election law that warrant independent investigation," said Melissa Mulliken, the campaign manager for Kloppenburg for Justice, in a written statement.

Kloppenburg has also asked for a statewide recount of votes in the April 5 election. Final results had initially shown Kloppenburg's opponent, Justice David T. Prosser, winning by 7,316 votes. Since that represents a margin of only 0.488%, she was allowed by law to request a recount.

In a statement released Thursday, she cited "widespread anomalies" as the source of her decision to ask for a recount. These include undervotes in the cities of Milwaukee and Racine; reports of long lines and photocopied ballots in some counties; changes in the vote totals in Winnebago County; and problems with vote totals released in Waukesha County on election night.

Canvassing of Waukesha County, a large county that experienced higher-than-usual voter turnout, revealed votes that were originally left out of unofficial tallies given to the media. The county clerk's office blamed "human error" for this.

The election was closely watched because the court is divided 4 to 3 between conservative- and liberal-leaning justices. If lawsuits against Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union legislation limiting collective bargaining rights advances to the Supreme Court, the partisan split on the bench would be likely to affect a ruling.

Prosser is thought to be sympathetic to Walker's actions, taken in an effort to rein in Wisconsin's budget.

Unions threw their support behind Kloppenburg, hoping that a victory in the election would give them an advocate on the bench.