2016-12-01 / Views

Let recount begin, but next time charge more

our opinion

County election workers will be receiving extra checks in time for Christmas shopping, which is one of a few bright spots we can point to in an election recount ordered by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and tacitly supported by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

We see the political motives in seeking the recount — Ms. Stein and the Green Party will elevate their profiles, while Ms. Clinton and the Democratic Party seek to cast doubts on the legitimacy of a Donald Trump presidency.

We also see much irony.

The obvious contradiction lies in Mr. Trump’s continuing assertion that the presidential campaign has been “rigged.” While Mr. Trump had been speaking more of pollsters and the established media than the sacredness of the American polling booth, he continues to maintain that millions of illegitimate voters cast ballots.

Well, Mr. Trump, you won a close election that you said was rigged against you. Please, Mr. Trump, stop whining and give your Twitter finger a rest.

Progressives, who are aghast at so many things “Trump,” are now the ones casting doubt on election results even though no one has found evidence of voter fraud. And make no mistake, outright fraud would need to be unearthed to reverse election results in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where recounts are targeted. All three states would have to flip to change the outcome of the election.

While we see the recounts as political props, we’re fine with them — other than the cost to state and county coffers.

The price tag in Michigan for Ms. Stein comes to $125 per precinct or about $780,000; the cost to Ms. Clinton would have been one-fifth that amount because her vote total came within .5 percent of Mr. Trump.

Clerk Michelle Crocker estimates that the recount will cost Leelanau County more than $4,000, while reimbursement from the state will come to $2,125.

Given that raising money in today’s politically charged world is about as difficult as setting up a “GoFundMe” account, we believe candidates should be charged the full cost for recounts that hold virtually no chance of success.

If voter fraud is suspected, then complaints should be filed with state and U.S. attorney generals.

The biggest irony, however, can be found in the central government leanings of recount requesters. Large-scale fraud is about impossible to inflict upon the American election system for exactly the opposite reason.

The roots of a national election can be found in the efforts of thousands of county clerks — including Ms. Crocker in Leelanau County — and their hand-picked assistants.

Their allegiances are not to a federal bureaucracy. And progressives would prefer federal control and oversight of national elections.

Instead, America was founded on the principals of state sovereignty and separation of powers.

That said, the recounts are likely to bolster faith in our elections, another irony.

So let the recounts begin — precinct by precinct, county by county, state by state.

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