Recounts of votes cast three weeks ago in the U.S. election are set to begin. Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein has raised more than six million dollars to fund the effort in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
While most experts believe the recount will not change the bottom-line result of the election, Stein says the recount effort is to show “how untrustworthy the U.S. election system is.”
While they are examining the election results, Hillary Clinton’s campaign decided against calling for a recount on its own. But it is participating in the Green Party’s effort “to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.”
On Twitter, President-elect Donald Trump called the Green Party’s recount effort a “scam” in order to raise money. And he also claimed that millions of people voted illegally — an allegation that no one has been able to prove.
How all this impacts the American public’s confidence in the election process is yet to be seen.
The Delusional Melodrama of Jill Stein
Edward Morrissey – The Week
Most people couldn’t wait for the grueling, nasty, seemingly interminable 2016 election to end. Jill Stein wants to keep it going. And she’s willing to waste a lot of money, time, and attention to do so….
Legally, any candidate has standing to request a recount — as long as they pay the costs. Politically and morally, however, Stein utterly lacks any standing to claim she has been harmed by ballot irregularities and counting errors….
That means the one candidate who might have a decent argument for recounts…is Hillary Clinton….Why hasn’t the Democrat who sustained a shocking loss in the party’s famed “Blue Wall” states pushed for recounts herself? For one thing, Clinton has already conceded the race to Donald Trump, reportedly urged by President Barack Obama to do so.
The No-BS Guide to the Presidential Recount
Greg Palast – Truthout
The nasty little secret of US elections is that we don’t count all the votes.
In Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — and all over America — there were a massive number of votes that were simply rejected, invalidated and spoiled; they were simply not counted. Officially, in a typical presidential election, at least three million votes end up rejected, often for picayune, absurd reasons….
So, as Robert Fitrakis, lead lawyer for the recount, tells me, their first job is to pull the votes out of the electoral dumpster — and, one by one, make the case for counting a rejected provisional, absentee or “spoiled” ballot.
Why I Support an Election Audi, Even Though It’s Unlikely to Change the Outcome
Nate Silver – FiveThiryEight
[W]e’ve been skeptical of claims of irregularities in the presidential election. As we pointed out last week, there are no obvious statistical anomalies in the results in swing states based on the type of voting technology that each county employed. Instead, demographic differences, particularly the education levels of voters, explain the shifts in the vote between 2012 and 2016 fairly well….
Let’s not call it a “recount,” because that’s not really what it is….An apparent win by a few dozen or a few hundred votes might be reversed by an ordinary recount. But Donald Trump’s margins, as of this writing, are roughly 11,000 votes in Michigan, 23,000 votes in Wisconsin and 68,000 votes in Pennsylvania. There’s no precedent for a recount overturning margins like those or anything close to them. Instead, the question is whether there was a massive, systematic effort to manipulate the results of the election….
Ultimately, though, I’m in the information business. An audit very probably won’t detect a conspiracy, but it will reveal information about our voting systems. FiveThirtyEight and most other American news organizations are founded on the premise that more information is better, even if it risks being misinterpreted.
Recount Not Justified in This Election
Leonard Pitts, Jr. – Miami Herald
I oppose the recount.
There are, to my mind, only two reasons to re-examine ballots in a presidential campaign…The first is in the event of error or fraud, but there is no evidence thereof in the 2016 election…
The second is in the event the margin of victory is especially slim. And yes, in the three states where Stein is pushing for a recount — Wisconsin,Michigan and Pennsylvania — the margins are indeed thin, particularly in Michigan, which Hillary Clinton lost by just 11,612 votes.But in a case like that, the recount must begin immediately — and preferably automatically — to be seen as credible. A recount three weeks after the fact cannot avoid the appearance of dirty tricks.
A Legitimacy Crisis for our Democracy
Michael A. Cohen – Boston Globe
I get that the Electoral College is the system we have in this country and that you have to fight an election by the rules that exist, which allowed Trump to prevail. But this also isn’t a football game. It’s democracy, and when the person who “wins” gets 2.5 million fewer votes than the person who “loses,” that brings into question whether the United States truly is a representative democracy….
To make the situation even worse, in the last 24 hours Trump has further undermined the validity of an election he won by dishonestly claiming that 3 million illegal voters cast ballots. This is one of the most direct attacks against America’s political system that we’ve ever seen from a major political figure. Even worse, it could lay the groundwork for a full-scale assault on voting rights in America.