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Friday, January 11, 2008

Time for A Recount in New Hampshire?

Dennis Kucinich thinks so.

"Without an official recount, the voters of New Hampshire and the rest of the nation will never know whether there are flaws in our electoral system that need to be identified and addressed at this relatively early point in the Presidential nominating process,” said Kucinich, who is campaigning in Michigan this week in advance of next Tuesday’s Presidential primary in that state."
We all know how completely flummoxed the pundits and the candidates themselves were at the results of the New Hampshire election, since previous polling had shown huge leads for Senator Obama. (Although Zogby now claims that he had a poll that showed much closer numbers for Clinton and Obama, he didn't feel it was representative because it had been done over a shorter time period.) So wouldn't a hand count be a good idea?

YES. I think it would be a great thing if the ballots were hand-counted. Unlike many states, New Hampshire uses paper ballots with optical scanning machines, so there is a record as to how each vote was cast. But here's the rub: Who's going to pay for the staffers who will have to count tens of thousands of votes?

I'll tell you who: No one. And that, my friends, is yet another reason why the government, and not private corporations, should own our franchise.

Where's the accountability when something goes wrong (as in 2000, 2002, 2004...)? Oh, sure, individual people who help rig elections, if caught, do go to jail. The phone-jamming RNC operative in New Hampshire; the election workers in Ohio; they've paid for their crimes. But what about fixing the problems with the machines? What about double-checking the results? Shockingly, since ES&S, Sequoia and Diebold are all owned by Republic FOB's (Friends of Bush), the Deciderer has been, er, decidedly lax in pointing the finger at these e-voting companies for the (very kindly stated) poor quality of their products.

If the (Madamab-style) government owned our franchise, there could be a budget set aside for hiring of staffers to count, and recount, the votes, if necessary. There could be a process to be completed and standards to be met for requesting a recount, so that time was not wasted on frivolous demands. And, if we did use machines to cast and count our votes, their code would be open-sourced and each vote would be cast on paper.

Dennis is right, as usual. I personally think that New Hampshire was an anomaly, due to the very large number of Independent voters there who apparently made up their minds on the day of the vote, and I don't believe there was fraud involved. But what if there were? In the face of such a surprising result, there should be no question: a hand recount should be done automatically to rule out any wrongdoing or error.

Our franchise demands no less.

1 comment:

Southern Beale said...

I read in today's paper that they are going to recount both the Democratic and Republican votes. I'm glad they are doing this, perhaps people will feel more comfortable with the results once and for all.

I don't happen to think the vote was stolen, but what do I know. I don't live there.