Waukesha clerk gets a Dem challenger

Kathy Nickolaus has the dubious distinction of being the best-known county clerk in Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, her notoriety is for the questionable way she counts and reports ballots on election night.

The most famous snafu was when she discovered 7,000 uncounted Waukesha County votes that changed the outcome of last spring's Supreme Court race, snatching apparent victory from Joanne Kloppenburg and giving it instead to David Prosser.

But there have been a series of embarrassing missteps during her tenure.

Nickolaus, whose term ends in January 2013, already has a challenger in the GOP primary. And now there's a Democratic candidate, too, Jessie Read of Sussex (pictured).

Waukesha County is a tough place to be a Democrat, let alone get elected to a county-wide position. But Read is undeterred. (And the GOP legislature did eliminate straight-ticket voting, while doing a lot of other damage to the electoral process like requiring a photo ID.)

County clerk is one of those positions that really doesn't seem to require a political partisan, but that's how we do it in Wisconsin. Nickolaus is a former GOP staffer with no real qualifications except Republican connections.

Read has an accoounting background and a Masters degree in accounting from Purdue. You probably don't need that much education to count the votes correctly, but it can't hurt.

Read says that's the main reason she decided to run:

"I was dismayed by the apparent lack of transparency and inattentive practices being displayed by the current county clerk office. Having my vote counted correctly is very important to me and I have lost confidence that the election vote counting process is accurate."

Waukesha Wonk Lisa Mux has more.