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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

December 7, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsProgressive Pundit

Stein recount is a reasonable request

The election may have happened weeks ago, but the controversy surrounding it has not subsided. The Clinton campaign stirred mixed responses after it offered to participate in a recount of votes in Wisconsin, one of the states that was key to President-elect Donald Trump’s victory. While critics of the recount feel the campaigns should accept the results and move on, there is no harm in ensuring all results are accurate, especially with such small margins of victory for Trump.

After the election, Green Party Candidate Jill Stein requested a recount in three states and so far has raised over $6 million for the effort. Her fundraising campaign suggests there were statistical anomalies in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and she wants recounts in all three. The Clinton campaign agreed to participate in the recount effort to verify that there was no hacking or other tampering with election results. Stein will be footing the bill from the money she raised, so the recount will not depend on government funding.

Trump and his associates have been highly critical of the recount effort. It would reflect poorly on him if voters do not think he won the election fairly, so it makes sense that he would be critical. Trump called Stein’s fundraising effort a scam and said the money would not actually be spent on the recount. However, Stein said the money is being collected in a separate account from normal donations, and her website states that all leftover funds will go toward other efforts in ensuring election integrity.

Even if this recount is unlikely to change the election results, given that all three states would need to be won by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for her to win, there is nothing negative that comes from being absolutely sure the election results are correct. The attitude that Clinton is being a “sore loser” by supporting the recount effort is harmful. Clinton made her concession speech and has not questioned Trump’s legitimacy other than supporting a recount. Even Trump questioned some of the results, claiming millions of people voted illegally, so it seems hypocritical for him to be mad that Clinton is skeptical of some results. Trump should actually be happy to support the recount efforts since it will only strengthen the legitimacy of his win if he is still declared the winner.

Considering how important the presidential election is, even slim possibilities need to be considered. There is not much to lose by doing a recount that is completely funded by Stein and her donors, and we are gaining certainty that the election results are absolutely fair.