Statement and Account of Ramona Kitzinger, Waukesha Board of Canvassers member since 2004:
Monday, April 11, 2011
(Waukesha County Democratic Party)On Tuesday night, I received a voice message from someone in the office of Clerk Kathy Nickolaus informing me of a Wednesday canvass meeting, which I returned the next morning and said I would be able to report into the canvass by noon, which I did.
Normally the canvass would begin at 9am on Thursday, as has been the general practice for many years. No one explained why they were beginning the canvass on Wednesday, just to please report immediately.
Before this telephone call, I had not been contacted as the designated Democratic observer, and I saw no public notice of the abnormal canvass time. The phone call simply instructed me to report by noon to begin the canvass, which I did. The canvass then proceeded as normal, with no glaring irregularities or mention of a possible 15,000 vote error in Brookfield City.
On Thursday, I then showed up as per normal procedure at 9am and the canvass again went normally and concluded sometime between 4pm and 5pm. During the course of the day, the issue of minor vote corrections in New Berlin and Lisbon came up, but again nothing of a historic nature or reflecting glaring irregularities. In fact, the matter of vote totals in Brookfield City came up specifically during the course of Thursday's canvass. In retrospect, it seems both shocking and somewhat appalling there was no mention of discovery of this 15,000 vote human error that ultimately had the potential to tip the balance of an entire statewide election. How is this possible?
Once the canvass had been completed and the results were finalized, I was called into Kathy's office along with Pat (the Republican observer) and told of an impending 5:30pm press conference. It was at that point that I was first made aware of an error Kathy had made in Brookfield City. Kathy told us she thought she had saved the Brookfield voter information Tuesday night, but then on Wednesday she said she noticed she had not hit save. Kathy didn't offer an explanation about why she didn't mention anything prior to Thursday afternoon's canvass completion, but showed us different tapes where numbers seemed to add up, though I have no idea where the numbers were coming from. I was not told of the magnitude of this error, just that she had made one. I was then instructed that I would not say anything at the press conference, and was actually surprised when I was asked questions by reporters.
The reason I offer this explanation is that, with the enormous amount of attention this has received over the weekend, many people are offering my statements at the press conference that the numbers jibed as validation they are correct and I can vouch for their accuracy. As I told Kathy when I was called into the room. I am 80 years old and I don't understand anything about computers. I don't know where the numbers Kathy was showing me ultimately came from, but they seemed to add up. I am still very, very confused about why the canvass was finalized before I was informed of the Brookfield error and it wasn't even until the press conference was happening that I learned it was this enormous mistake that could swing the whole election. I was never shown anything that would verify Kathy's statement about the missing vote, and with how events unfolded and people citing me as an authority on this now, I feel like I must speak up.