The Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein camps have recently announced that they will take part in the Wisconsin voter recount. Many people are criticizing their call to do so, saying that it’s costing time and money. Shouldn’t the election results just be accepted? On Nov. 24, Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, tweeted “Look who ‘can’t accept the election results’” in response to Clinton supporters calling for vote recount in battleground states (Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania). However, voter recount is less about trying to change or affect the result –– which is highly unlikely to happen, given Trump’s 306 and Clinton’s 232 electoral votes –– and more about clearing things up and proving a point.
Election Rigging and Voter Suppression
The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2016
Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2016
If there’s one thing that Trump tweeted most about before Election Day, it was his claim that the election was rigged. Is the election only fair if Trump wins? Is the election –– or the entire electoral process, for that matter –– still rigged, as Trump has countlessly claimed? Though voter fraud is rare, there was evidence of voter suppression during this year’s election. Fourteen states enacted stricter voting restrictions, which “range from strict photo ID requirements to early voting cutbacks to registration restrictions,” according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. Because of these rules, many citizens were restricted from voting –– many people who may have been either Clinton or Stein voters.
According to Clinton’s campaign lawyer Marc Elias, their team plans to proceed with the recount efforts, focusing on an “outside interference.” Clinton’s campaign team has also spoken about Russian influence on this election. No evidence of such actions has been detected. But a recount would confirm or deny any assumptions made about these outside interference, which have been a hot topic throughout the election.
All in all, recounting the votes is a timely and expensive action. But due to such a controversial election, where national security and citizens’ rights are put to question, it’s no surprise that Stein and Clinton want to recount the votes. It’s not about changing the results, despite one’s unhappiness. It’s about making sure each vote is fairly seen and counted. And it’s also about making sure elections in the future are corruption-free and fair. Recounting has the unlikely potential to make a great impact (see: the Florida election recount of 2000) but it also can keep an election and its voting process trustworthy and pure. Either way, recounting shouldn’t be automatically dismissed without understanding its intention.