Friday, December 2, 2016

Scott Walker is wrong to suggest changes to recount law

The law is meant to give every candidate assurances of a sound and fair election

After attending the Christmas tree lighting at the state Capitol, Scott Walker spoke to reporters on the need to change the recount process in Wisconsin.

“It’s certainly something to look at,” Walker told reporters.

Here we go again.

Walker has, in the past, spoken on the need to change the John Doe law and the Government Accountability Board (though only after he received what he deemed as unfavorable treatment from those respective institutions). Not that’s it’s news to anyone who pays enough attention, but when Walker (or any of his surrogates) says “let’s change something,” it’s expected that his Republican-run legislature will go after it on command.

The bells are ringing, and it’s only a matter of time before GOP legislators react to Walker’s recent calls for changing the recount.

On that issue, Walker added to his comments above, “To me, it seems like a recount is most valuable if you think it was close and you want to challenge it to make sure that all the votes that were legitimate and legal were cast.”

A lot of people may agree with that sentiment, and it’s a reasonable way to look at how one should generally use the recount. But it’s also not a decision for Walker, nor anyone else, to make.

If a candidate believes there’s a need for a recount, they have the right to challenge the results of an election that they’re involved with. It doesn’t matter if that’s Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein, or anyone else -- any and every candidate has the right to receive assurances that the election was sound, conducted fairly for all parties (and voters) involved.

There are conditions to this. A candidate who isn’t within 0.25 percent of the winner doesn’t have the right to request a state-funded recount -- they must provide the funding themselves.

Green Party candidate for president Jill Stein did precisely that. The state bears no expense toward the recount, and she is using the law exactly as it was intended.

Walker is free to gripe about the recount, but he’s wrong to suggest that the law needs changing.

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