Recounts Are Only as Good as They Are Allowed to Be
Published by WhoWhatWhy.org
by Jonathan Simon
December 15, 2016
The existence of paper ballots is generally touted as the ultimate backstop guaranteeing the integrity of American elections, because “if there is a problem or any doubts, those ballots can always be recounted.”
They can be — but will they be?
Now we have seen three “recounts” up close and learned that, in practice, this amounts to a false and dangerous assurance. The effort to recount these ballots, where they do exist, has been blocked, subverted, and turned into a sham in each of the three states in which it has been attempted this month. The sheer number (and variety) of obstacles that have been thrown in the path of the recount efforts in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania begs the question: What evidence are these blockades trying to hide?
In the same spirit that Rosemary Woods managed to erase just those 18 minutes of an hours-long Nixon tape that many believe to contain the “smoking gun” about the Watergate scandal, so we are led to suspect the Election 2016 smoking guns may be in places that refuse to recount by hand — counties that destroy or prevent the creation of ballot images by scanners; states that rule against recounting in precincts where ballot bag seals are broken, or the number of voters does not match the number of ballots (the very red flags that should trigger recounts); and states whose courts, by partisan majority, simply rule that the recount cannot go forward at all.
A combination of administrative, financial, judicial, and operational tactics were used to hamper or stymie the recount effort in each state in which it was undertaken. A few examples of these tactics: • Refusal to hand count in Wisconsin in the very counties with the brightest forensic red flags — Outagamie, Brown, Rock, e.g., where Trump vote shares dramatically exceeded expectations. Click Here to Continue Reading