Re-Recount

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That's what the campaigns of Green David Cobb and Libertarian Michael Badnarik want in Ohio. According to this Cobb press release, an amended complaint has been filed in federal court. What was wrong with the first recount, which officially ended Tuesday, and cut Bush's lead by around 300 votes (out of over 118,000)? Says the press release:

One of the most significant problems with the recount was that few of Ohio's 88 counties randomly selected sample precincts for the recount as is required by Ohio law. Other problems with the recount included a lack of security for the ballots and voting machines–including allegations of interference with voting machines by representatives of the Diebold and Triad corporations–and the refusal of some counties to do a full hand recount when required by law to do so.

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  1. What in hell are they trying to accomplish besides driving everyone away from their respective parties?

  2. Jason-

    I’m sorry, you seem to be living under the misconception that the Libertarian party is actually supposed to be trying to win real elections and accomplish some positive reform of US govt. Don’t you know that the Libertarian party’s stated goal is to function as a hobby for crackpots who would rather sit on the sidelines and shoot down anything that isn’t an instantaneous transformation to their 100% idealized libertarian world than to have to actually do the work, make the decisions, sometimes have to make compromises, and get something real done? No, it’s much easier to blow all your money on vanity races you don’t have a prayer of winning, boast triumphantly about your 1% of the vote, and then sit back and complain about how the other parties aren’t doing things right.

  3. I dig this. I think that it’s a fitting Lib principal. The basis of the re-recount isn’t because the race is close; it’s because the law wasn’t followed. If we’re not going to follow the laws, then let’s get them off the books. If, on the other hand, we need the laws “just in case”, then isn’t during the recount just the “case” that these laws were put in place to address?

    Personally, I think there are far too many laws on the books, but as long as they’re there, shouldn’t they apply to everyone equally?

    WSDave

  4. “…boast triumphantly about your 1% of the vote…”

    If they could even get that, then they’d have something to boast about.

    The LP started out in the 70s as a pretty good idea, an attempt at creating a viable alternative between the GOP and the Dems. Sadly it’s been taken over by militia kooks, black helicopter watchers, scitzophrenics, and wackos still complaining about the change from the gold standard.

  5. “Personally, I think there are far too many laws on the books, but as long as they’re there, shouldn’t they apply to everyone equally?”

    But what have they accomplished, besides looking like a bunch of morons.

  6. I’m in the anti-re-recount camp, after initially supporting the first one.

    Instead of letting it go, Badnarik is doing no service to the LP (who distanced themselves from the first one, even) by dragging the LP’s name even further into deep water through making no attempt to separate himself from the party affiliation.

    Instead, anti-LP posters across the net get even more of a shot in by having a semi-valid claim that the LP (not just Badnarik) are throwing away taxpayer dollars to a futile effort.

    People in general don’t care about the specifics after a certain threshhold of time — instead they’re going to see “Green” and “Libertarian” and immediately dismiss both camps as instigators of futility. Whether the cause is noble or not, he should have at least made it clear he is not representing the party in this effort whatsoever.

    And actually, the LP did make some inroads in Georgia this year, believe it or not. First third party to win a partisan election in many, many years.

  7. Some day, when I am established in my career, I plan to start a PAC/527/whatever-the-term-is that funds, on a competitive basis, select projects by LP candidates and affiliate chapters. The goal would be to identify the strongest (and sanest!) elements of the LP and help them achieve success. Here are some of the projects that I would want to pursue:

    Expand the Pool of Elected Libertarians: Award small donations to anybody who has a shot at being elected to a minor, single-issue local office (things like school board, park district, and public utilities commission). These offices may not be very powerful, but Libertarians in these positions can still try to cut some red tape and spending, and earn the respect of their constituents.
    Elect Libertarians to More Influential Local Offices: Award a handful of large donations, on a competitive basis, to the best candidates for city and county offices such as city council, mayor, and county board of supervisors. While less powerful than state legislators, these officials have authority over local taxes, budgets, zoning, and ordinances. Candidates should demonstrate polished campaign skills (e.g. submit sample campaign brochures, TV or radio advertisements, etc.), public support (preferably endorsements from respected local figures), and also present polls or other evidence to show that the other candidates are vulnerable.
    Mount Serious Challenges to the Most Winnable State Legislative Seats: Identify the strongest LP candidate for state legislative office, defined as the LP candidate likely to draw the largest percentage of the vote. The donation would be large and be awarded on a competitive basis, based on criteria similar to those for city and county office.
    Fund the Strongest Spoilers in State Legislative Races: Award large donations (on a competitive basis) to 2 candidates, one who can defeat a Republican (target Republicans and swing voters, with the goal of drawing more votes than the margin in a race where the Democrat wins), and another who can defeat a Democrat (same concept, but reverse party labels). The dynamics of the race would matter almost as much as the quality of the available LP candidates. For spoiler purposes, drawing 15% in a race where the incumbent wins a 55-30 landslide matters less than drawing 2% in a close race.
    Elect Qualified Candidates to Judicial Office: In some places, local Judges are elected rather than appointed. Although a judge must act according to how the law is written rather than how he would like it to be written, if the LP is to play a part in government then there should be Libertarians serving in the third co-equal branch.
    Bring About Change With Ballot Measures: Award donations on a competitive basis for petition drives and campaigns for local ballot measures. Identify the petitions that have the strongest organizations campaigning for them, the best chances of winning local support, and that strike a good balance between moderation (ideas that are palatable to the electorate) and boldness (measures that make significant changes).

    Of course, first I have to increase my income.

  8. thoreau: you have heart, but no courage. Don’t worry, the organization you’re dreamin of is actually in the works and should be unveiled late next month.

  9. Stephen-

    Tell more! I would be quite interested in donating to a group that funds quality LP projects on a competitive basis!

  10. In case anyone has missed my previous posts, I am totally opposed to having George W Bush as President.

    I understand that Mike Badnarik agreed to call for the first recount essentially as a favor to Green Party candidate David Cobb, with whom he developed a friendship during the campaign.

    The Green Party had not qualified for the Ohio ballot, and did not have standing to call for a recount. Through great effort the LP had qualified Badnarik for the Ohio ballot, so he had the legal standing to call for the recount.

    I assume the money to pay the recount fee came from Democrats and Greens, and the Libertarian Party received free publicity, even if it was of mixed quality.

    But the recount has shown a solid win for Bush in Ohio, and it is now time to move on, and make plans to oppose the statist initiatives and policies of the Bush administration. A second recount really does show a disdain for the voters and taxpayers of Ohio.

  11. WTF? Badnarik needs to be taken to the woodshed.

  12. In related news, Gregoire appears to have won in Washington State (though there are still oppurtunities for legal challenges):

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/aplocal_story.asp?category=6420&slug=WST%20Washington%20Governor%20Chronology

  13. Thoreau,

    I have written before on this topic, and I heartily agree on all but the last topic. I think that the biggest change that the LP needs to see is that the National Party needs to stop wasting all of our money on ridiculous races and concentrate overfunding the state legislative races.

    Instead, the national party has been hijacked by a bunch of idealists that are in waaaaay over their collective heads.

    I’m watching a number of LP sites for the upcoming spring elections and plan on screaming to high hell to everyone I know if a winnable race is revealed on those sites. I don’t care if it’s county commissioner or city councilman, I want the money from the bright, upstanding members of the LP going to winnable races. I’m tired of watching wasted hundreds of thousands get funneled into thirty second drug war ads on CNN or into some cockamamie wisconsin governor’s race.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  14. Can someone please explain to me the supposed rationale behind spending enormous amounts of Libertarian Party money to run a presidential candidate who nobody on Earth believes will come close to coming near to sort of being anywhere in the ballpark of winning, when instead that money could be spent on state and local seats that Libertarians could actually win? Not only that, but the lower level offices often deal more directly with subjects (regulation,education,taxes,marijuana legalization) in which the public would appreciate a Libertarian makeover. I’m sure this question has been brought up before, but is there honestly a good answer for this other than that the Libertarian party is a joke? The problem with being the “outsider” party is that they’re filled with and led by people who not only tolerate being the outsiders for the sake of ideals, but WANT to be the outsiders, in fact relish the role. These are not people who bravely weather the crushing defeats year after year, they REVEL in the crushing defeats because that proves once again how brave and outcast and noble they are. Imagine, for a moment, that the Libertarian presidential candidate were to somehow win an election. Does anyone seriously believe he/she would be the least bit ready to actually take that office? Would they have anything like a qualified cabinet staff (and keep your jokes to yourself, whatever you think about republican/democrat presidents, you don’t get some nut who would likely appoint the guy who mows his lawn to be secretary of the interior)? Libertarians wouldn’t know what the hell to do with a victory. The fact is a Libertarian presidential candidate should be taken about as seriously as a five year old who decides to run for president, except that the five year old doesn’t waste as much cash doing it. What a great irony that libertarian ideas face few enemies in the political arena more damaging than the Libertarian party itself.

  15. …..supposed rationale behind spending enormous amounts of Libertarian Party money to run a presidential candidate….

    In many states, achieving a threshold vote in a statewide election, for President, Senate, or one or another of the state’s constitutional officers establishes or maintains automatic ballot status in the next general election. In some states, achieving “official party status” gains the party space in the state’s official election guide. Granted, the effort needed to petition to be placed on the ballot in some states can be daunting, but try organizing local activity in a state where “we couldn’t even get our Presidential candidate on the ballot.”

    If you think getting media attention is tough when your candidate is on 49 of 51 ballots, you won’t like it much when the national LP settles for 25 or 30 states, letting the tougher ones hang fire. National could try to train cadres in the states with stricter ballot access laws so that more petitioning is done by competent volunteers, and less by paid staff. Using paid petitioners, where legal, can be effective, but it eats up the budget, and does nothing towards building up a grass-roots organization. Running a successful volunteer-oriented petition drive is an exercise in party-building. The experience of knocking on doors and talking to potential voters is invaluable for future candidate recruitment.

    Kevin

  16. I think anything that brings more attention to all the anomalies of a typical vote is worthwhile. I’m tired of people telling me how “important” my vote is, and then not giving a crap about missing votes, tampered machines, and the like just because an accurate count wouldn’t affect the outcome. If it’s simply impossible to hold an accurate count of votes, I think it’s important to know why. Bring on the re-recount!

  17. This recount issue was the final straw and led to me quitting the LP (not that this totally futile gesture is any more significant than the equally futile gesture of joining the LP in the first place). Why only challenge the election in states which Bush won (the Greens and LP had also considered challenges in Nevada and New Mexico)? Why single out Ohio for scrutiny, based entirely on innuendo and anecdote? Kerry won Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by less than Bush won Ohio…are you telling me there was zero electoral hanky-panky in corrupt Democratic machine cities like Detroit, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee? Come on…the Democratic Party virtually invented election fraud, but Mr. Badnarik apparently has totally bought into the left-wing “disenfranchisement” myth.

    Beyond the recount issue, the LP has done nothing to reverse its descent into irrelevancy. Read the devastating statistical dissection of LP vote totals in Liberty magazine…the LP is in decline in every respect. That alone may not be enough to make one quit the party, but if I ever again decide to subject myself to universal ridicule by joining a fringe party of kooks, it will not be a party that pals around with avowed Marxists (Greens) or wastes taxpayer money on bizarre ego trips like the Ohio recount.

  18. If it’s simply impossible to hold an accurate count of votes, I think it’s important to know why.

    Because there’s no such thing as a perfectly accurate vote counter.

    There. Now you know why.

  19. Kevin-

    I may be missing something, but it seems like your explanation for why the LP must spend money to push a presidential candidate is that if they don’t, it will be harder to get their presidential candidate on the ballot next time around. Sice they shouldn’t even be running a presidential candidate in the first place and should instead be using that money to fund candidates on the local and state level, I don’t see why this is a problem.

  20. Dave-

    In some states, a state-wide candidate who clears a certain hurdle gains ballot access for other candidates from that party, such as candidates for state legislature.

  21. First, for all those people that are complaining about Badnarik wasting taxpayers money:
    screw, I have to pay all kinds of taxes for programs I oppose. Like I said about the bitch that whined about having to pay for abortions when she was morally opposed to them; tough shit asshole. I think that I shouldn’t have pay for the war in Iraq, which is illegal and immoral.

    Second, if the public officials were enforcing the law instead of trying to skirt it, maybe there wouldn’t need to be a recount.

    And Dave, given your first comment, why don’t you just go back to TownHall.com and don’t come back.

  22. Dan,

    Let’s play a game of compare the words:

    If it’s simply impossible to hold an accurate count of votes, I think it’s important to know why.

    Because there’s no such thing as a perfectly accurate vote counter.

  23. screw, I have to pay all kinds of taxes for programs I oppose.

    Yes, and you’ve just forfeited your right to complain about that. You’ve concluded that it’s ok for people to force others to support their pet government projects.

    Nice “libertarians” the party’s producing these days. No wonder you guys spend so much time with your lips planted on the Green Party’s ass.

  24. Never been to Townhall.com, not sure what that has to do with my comment. I’m sure it’s one of those “you’re really just a (insert political party) in disguise” sort of thing, which is odd since I haven’t made any specific ideological comments other than I’d like to see some libertarian ideas advance in the public sphere and think the LP is holding that back by running pointless races instead of focusing on ones they could win.

  25. Let’s play a game of compare the words:

    My assumption was that when Rhywun said “accurate” he meant “perfectly accurate”. He was, after all, complaining that it wasn’t good enough that the existing error was so small as to be insignificant. When a person bitches about the existance of insignificant errors, I consider that evidence that they’re demanding perfection.

    Or they’re just whining, which since we’re talking about Libertarian Party voters is perhaps the more likely explanation.

  26. Should not the voting mechanisms and procedures be watched, double-checked and audited, no less than the activities of government agencies and private-sector corporations?

    Guess what, folks? This takes time, effort, and money. When the checking is done correctly, the resources are not wasted. I don’t know how many of you have participated in corporate audit and oversight, but it tends to be a big and expensive job. Still, it is necessary, to instill discipline in corporate procedures and accounting, and to inspire confidence in management and the information it publishes concerning the enterprise. The situation is similar for elections.

    From my reading on the subject, it seems to me that there may not be enough ongoing, effective oversight of the voting system in Ohio. Perhaps they’re saving money by cutting corners. So along come Badnarik and Cobb, who ask to invoke the one oversight mechanism that they are entitled to invoke, forcing the elections officials to spend time and money that they should have been spending anyway, and now Cobb and Badnarik are the bad guys? When the oversight mechanism itself is seen to be creaky, rusty, and perhaps erroneous, is it the case that people get mad at those same two guys because of their insistence that checking be done correctly? Are you kidding me?

    I think it’s sad that third party candidates have to take the heat for forcing an issue that should never have been an issue. The election officials of the State should have been putting into place procedures and mechanisms to demonstrate and guarantee the integrity and accuracy of election results, all along. Instead of railing at the third party candidates for blowing the only “whistle” that the law provides them, we ought to be directing our flamethrowers at the people who are in charge of elections in Ohio, for running a slipshod operation that practically invites challenge.

    But of course, the chattering class, here and elsewhere, would rather bash the “loony” LP and the “goony” Greens. That’s so much easier than making a positive contribution toward solving the problem, isn’t it?

    On the other hand, putting on my cynic’s hat: What this recount effort SHOULD do is put the Ohio elections people on notice that they need to clean up their act and run a tight ship. What it probably WILL do is inspire changes in the State’s law, to make it more difficult, if not impossible, for third party candidates to call for a recount, ever again. Let’s see how the chips fall.

  27. Should not the voting mechanisms and procedures be watched, double-checked and audited, no less than the activities of government agencies and private-sector corporations?

    No, they should not. The exact amount of money a corporation made is vitally important. That is why auditting is essential. That number determines the taxes owed, the company’s assets, and the amount of money due the shareholders. The exact vote total of an election, on the other hand, is of no importance whatsoever. The value of knowing for certain that Bush won by X votes instead of X+300 votes is zero. What has value is knowing who won the election. Watching, auditting, and double-checking are valuable only inasmuch as they allow us to determine who won.

    The Ohio voting process was closely watched, and Bush won. The results were auditted, and it was confirmed that Bush won. The results were double-checked, and what do you know — there is still absolutely no doubt that Bush won. Enough, already.

    The proper solution here is for the people demanding the recount to pay ALL associated costs, refundable with interest in the event that the recount overturns the results. That is the libertarian, free-market solution. Wasting tax money to stroke your own egos isn’t.

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