Jill Stein, her supporters and a group of experts struggled mightily to get proper recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. They were accused of paranoia and of simply wasting time. Why is it so difficult, and so controversial, to get the results of a U.S. presidential election inspected and verified? Audits should be mandatory in all states; in fact, they’re part of the foundation of a healthy democracy. Recounts not only are important for finding proof that voting machines were misconfigured or hacked. In a meaningful recount, evidence representing the voter’s intent is compared against the published vote totals. Even if a recount proves that everything went as intended, it’s a way to reassure the public — especially the losing side — that the announced winner of the election is legitimate. A recount is comparable to checking the receipt before leaving the local grocery store. Some check, some don’t, but overall, we all agree that the ability to check a receipt is worth the paper it is printed on.
For that reason, in many European countries, recounts — called fine counts or second counts — are done automatically, immediately after election day. They are conducted manually by counting paper ballots and do not have to be ordered by a judge because of a suspicion that something went wrong. It’s common practice for election commissions to foot the bill. (In the U.S., Stein and her supporters had to raise millions of dollars.)
If U.S. officials were more willing to conduct audits, the next step would be standardizing the voting and recount process. Quality matters.
In Pennsylvania for instance, 83% of the votes were cast and recorded on paperless voting machines, producing effectively no reliable record that could be used during a manual recount. This means that the only thing a recount can really prove is the absence of evidence of malfeasance.
Full Article: Recounts should be the norm, not the exception – LA Times.