The Billings Gazette is reporting today that Montana GOP will put up $115,000 dollars to recount a race it has no chance of winning.
Word on the street is that the recount is a ruse to allow the GOP to continue to “investigate” the supposed problem of too many people voting in Yellowstone County. Voter suppression will be a first order of business for the new legislature. So, the GOP will use the recount as an occasion to rant in the press about how too many people voting caused long lines and delays in vote counts in certain major cities–to argue that liberalized voting rules have caused the problem.
GOP-er Sandy Welch is down over 2,000 votes, so Sandy Welch’s chances of overturning Denise Juneau’s victory are zero to none. To my knowledge, a recount has never overturned the results of a statewide race–even when the results were much closer than the Juneau/Welch contest.
The last time a statewide races was recounted was the 2000 democratic secretary of state primary. Linda McCulloch. As the Missoulian reported:
McCulloch nipped fellow challenger Gail Gray, 31,634 to 31,573 in the statewide recount. Although Gray picked up 65 misplaced votes in the recount, McCulloch gained 62. McCulloch’s final tally was 61 votes ahead of Gray, down from 64 votes in the original count. The third Democratic contestant, Mike Schwinden, saw his total rise 26 votes to 28,765.
The most recent recount before this was in 1980.
It involved Initiative 84, a measure to control disposal of uranium ore tailings. The original count showed 172,796 in favor to 172,173 against. The recount put the total at 172,909 to 172,493, preserving the initiative’s passage.
Too stupid to know how to organize a get-out-the-vote effort like Democrats with technology, sophistication and smarts, Republicans in Montana (and nationally) are now complaining about the fact that “too many people were voting.” They’re calling for an end to election day registration and a shrinking of early vote options.
For a preview of how this charade will play out in Montana, look how the Republicans are using the Allen West recount in Florida to peddle the voter fraud myth. The GOP thinks that if it’s harder to vote, they will gain an advantage. They will use this recount charade to try to get support for rolling back early voting, same day registration, etc.
And of course American Traditions Partnership will be all for this. ATP attorney Jim Brown is in on the ruse. He told Sandy Welch’s campaign manager that he liked their chances of winning the recount.
People in Montana are voting in some of the highest numbers in the state’s history. They are engaged, and the GOP doesn’t like that. Republicans did better when more voters were apathetic, and so they want to return to those glory days.
Early voting must remain; vote by mail must increase; and same day registration must remain, because it is an important way of allowing people to vote when they have moved addresses but there’s a glitch in the system, for whatever reason, that hasn’t recorded it properly. In the past, these folks have been turned away. Now with same day registration, they can vote.
Truth is, Republicans lost the big statewide races for three basic reasons, which are 1) they had inferior statewide candidates, 2) the Republican brand is in the toilet, thanks in large part to the Tea Party, and 3) in two races they gave away an average of 5 points to the libertarian candidate.
Had there been a third party candidate in the Juneau race, Welch would have already faded from view. The contest is the only statewide race in which the democratic candidate, Denise Juneau, received more than 50% of the vote against a real opponent.