Supreme Court justice David Prosser has picked up more than 7,381 votes in Waukesha County, a conservative county outside of Milwaukee, as part of the statewide canvass following the election for Supreme Court on Tuesday. The total gives Prosser a comfortable lead as the canvass continues Friday.

The error came when Waukesha County clerk Kathy Nickolaus failed to save some 14,000 votes that came from wards in Brookfield before passing the vote total along to the Associated Press. County officials discovered the mistake Wednesday and shared the information with state election officials on Thursday. Prosser won Waukesha County with more than 70 percent of the vote there.

Wisconsin sources say that the paper trail on the votes will be obvious and difficult for anyone to dispute. Either votes from Brookfield were counted in the initial tally or they weren’t. Still, the discovery of the extra votes is sure to stoke the embers of the heated battles that have taken place across the state over the past two months, particularly because Nickolaus, the woman at the center of the controversy, is a Republican activist. A posting on the website of the Republican Women of Waukesha County indicates that Kathy Nickolaus recently served as president of that group.

But several sources have pointed to questions about her competence in the past. In August, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that her superiors “ordered an audit of the county clerk's election equipment and system beginning with the September primary despite several memos she sent to the committee over the weekend defending her practices and resisting the move.

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