Recount Charade

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.
 And so, you can see that a recount will not overturn the results of this race.  But overturning the result is not the reason for the recount.

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.


45 Comments on "Recount Charade"

  1. Demanding a recount is a roll of the dice. I lost a primary race (probably a good thing!)by three votes which triggered a recount. The recount turned out a ten vote margin of LOSS. It could very well turn out this demand for a recount could result in an increase margin of victory for Denise Juneau!

  2. Voting is our duty as citizens of a democracy. Every effort in history to dilute, obstruct, or strip people of the franchise has been carried out by those who ideologically oppose democracy. Campaign on your beliefs and let the people decide — that’s the simple essence of our republic. Any organization that tries to juke the system like this is doing so because its adherents fully understand that they can’t win on their merits alone.

    I have to say this yet again: it’s sad to see how far the GOP has sunk.

  3. It is an outrage that taxpayer resources (staff time) would be spent on a propaganda scheme of the state GOP. Watch for them next to try to block third party candidates from the ballot. The GOP will do anything to win, they don’t want dissenting voices or critics either.

  4. Why is it any time Jim Brown appears in the picture something nefarious is involved. This Chris Gallus appears cast from the same mold.

  5. The first question to ask is whether Welch is in on the charade and knows she has no chance or whether the GOP has duped her to get her to go along with this nonsense.

    • I would guess that Ms. Welch has no idea she’s being pwned. Like Romney, she probably believe that the polls showing she would lose were wrong. (Or like Skees, she probably believes that public opinion polling is some kind of conspiracy to manipulate the masses.)

      • No offense meant to anyone else, put she isn’t pwned, she’s owned. The decision to fight for recount will not be hers, and never was. No one had to dupe her; she hasn’t been in any control through this whole thing. The ATP runs the Montana GOP, and Welch has less voice in the direction it goes than Democrats do.

  6. Cowpie, perhaps you have a vested interest in making sure no one finds out this election was rigged. You may not want the taxpayers to find out the irregularities that shall be come apparent through this recount process NOT JUST IN THIS RACE but in the Rehberg and Hill races too. Let’s make sure every vote is counted. Sandy just make history and win. No one expected history to be made in Boston Harbour either, and yet beyold that result.

  7. I predict that even if the official canvass puts the tally within the recount window, Welch will decide not to ask for a recount.

    • I would have thought so too, until I read the article in which the repubs lawyer got a Political Practices ruling saying they can have the party foot the entire bill for this. It’s cheaper than radio ads against Bullock when you consider all the free media they’ll get over this

      • The publicity is good only if Welch wins. If she loses by hundreds or thousands of votes, she’ll look like a sore loser with bad judgment. Only the lawyers are sure to profit from a recount. Juneau will get four more years. Then, no matter how well she does, term limits will do what Welch could not through the ballot box.

        • At that point, Juneaus best option is to continue to follow in Linda mcCulloch’s footsteps and run for Secretary is State. She can’t run for AG or governor without primary ing Bucy or Bullock, an she can’t beat Baucus or Daines for a federal seat, so is SOS or retire from politics.

          • We need to get Schweitzer to run against Daines in two years so we can get our lone House seat back. It’s been completely wasted since 1996 on useless hacks voting the party line and enriching themselves and their buddies.

  8. The problem in Billings was not early voting. The problem was they closed several neighbor polling stations to shift everyone to one big consolidated mess at the Metra. Considering the history of long lines to get snacks and long lines to pee at the Metra, it should have occurred to someone there would be long lines to vote.

    • Excellent point, we needed more resources to make more options for voting to accommodate more voters – not to restrict the number of people who can vote

  9. The GOP has the votes in the mtleg to repeal access to voting — what they”ll try to do with this recount sham is gain enough headlines and spurious evidence to try to cower Bullock into signing it. If he doesn’t sign the bill, they will call him corrupt and run Tim Fox against him in 2016.

    • And then, Tim Fox will lose. It’s a small matter. As long as we are making predictions, I think Fox, in four years, will have to answer to Montanans for why he shut down any real investigation into the activities of the ATP. That is regardless of whatever office he runs for.

      • Why he shut down the ATP investigations? Simple- because ATP cleared out Shockely (the moderate) as a primary contender to pave the way for Fox’s corporations to buy the seat in the general.

  10. Question, between the $500k the Montana Republicans gave Rick Hill back in October, the $35K that they gave Tim Fox at the same to (which to his credit he returned) and now the $115K for this hopeless recount, where is the Montana Republican Party coming up with all this money? The amount of money in our politics is getting ridiculus. In Montana both U.S. Senate candidates took out of state PAC and Lobbyist money, and that senate race between the three candidates and all the third party groups it cost $30million dollars. Our Presidental race in our country cost over $6billion dollars, we have too much money in the game here, and we just had the nastiest election Ive ever seen. And frankly these campaigns are lasting way too long. Maybe we need to set up a system of public funding of elections, its worth a talk.

  11. Yeah whatever happened to that $500,000 — did Hill really give it back? How will we know? Who is supposed to be overseeing that? And is this the same money that is paying for this disaster?

  12. The crux, cowgirl, is in your last sentence. The only race with a Dem over 50 percent is DJ. All the other races had the D winning less than 50, with the combined libertines and elephant vote basically being “not-a-Democrat.” Dems only won pluralities except for Ed Smith, and he was up against Mike Fellows, a nice guy but a lousy candidate.
    The Libertarians saved the Dem bacon this time. That’s a shame, but it’s the truth. If somehow a libertarian Republican wins a primary next cycle, Dems don’t have a chance.

    • There is no such thing as a libertarian Republican. Libertarianism is a philosophy, and I don’t know what a Republican is these days. Republicans won’t support liberty, with ending the drug war and getting government out of marriage, Fellows is a nice guy, but why is he a lousy candidate? Had all those Romney voters voted for all candidates except Democrats, the Republicans would have won the whole thing. Rehberg needed to go anyway.

  13. Monica Lindeen won with 53.4 percent of the vote. Linda McCulloch won with 51.3 percent of the vote. Ed Smith won with 56.6 percent of the vote. In the contests where the winner received a plurality — senator, governor — an instant runoff system would have settled the question of whether the Libertarian deprived the Republican of a victory.

    An instant runoff system would have been useful in Lake County, too, where Joey Jayne received less than 20 percent of the vote, yet won a 12-person contest for justice of the peace.

    • Darn I stand corrected by the great James Conner. Darn I hate it when it happens.
      And Drifter, race has less to do with conservative voting patterns that it does for the left.

    • But, of course, an instant run off system is unlikely to take effect anytime soon.

      I don’t think the Republicans should count on getting those ‘libertarian’ votes, either. Not only have they consistently spat in the face of libertarian philosophy, but they should remember that many of those Libertarian votes were simply voting ‘no’ – no for either of the parties. The reason I’m supposing that is 1) I talked to hundreds of voters this election cycle and 2) the race with the two most familiar candidates was also the one where the third party picked up the most votes.

  14. Don’t you just love it when the pubbies suggest that libertarians are morons and then in the next breath suggest that they are only taking the pubbies votes? Now what does that tell you?

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | November 17, 2012 8:14 AM at 8:14 AM |

      What does that tell me? It tells me that you’ve got a problem with NOXIOUS DICKWEED! It’s spreading fast! I don’t know how to combat it. (see below. an oldy but goody)

      Here, allow me. I’m looking for a legislator to carry a bill for me in the next session HONORING all our Teatard pals like Gen. Robert E. Skees, Gen. David Duke Howard, and Pastord Gen. Bulbdim.

      Here’s my idea. We’ve got a state bird, a state flower, a state song, so why not a state weed?!

      Yes, we’ve got plenty to choose from, and some are quite colorful. We’ve got the spotted knapweed, and leafy spurge. But I don’t want to select one of those for the state weed. No, I prefer the MUCH more colorful weed found all OVER Montana. No, not the leafy spurge, not the spotted knapweed, but the noxious DICKweed! Yes, the most colorful of all is the ever prevelant noxious dickweed!

      How do you know if you’ve got the noxious dickweed in your area? Easy answer. You must just ask a few simple questions. Like:

      First you say you love America, and now you say you want to secede. Well, which IS it dickweed? (see how simple it is? you’ve got noxious dickweed nearby!)

      Or, you say you hate the gubmint, yet you’re the very FIRST to suck offn’ Unca Sugartit. Well, which IS it, dickweed?

      Or maybe, you say you love democracy, yet you want to supress the vote. Well, which IS it, dickweed?

      You see, how easy it is to spot the noxious dickweed? Heck, invent your OWN questions!

      You say you luv the Constitution, but you want a theocracy. Well, which IS it, dickweed?

      See how pervasive the noxious dickweed is? Hence, any legislator out there that would like to sponsor my bill, please contact me. And thanks in advance. My state WEED bill makes as much sense as the code of the west! Well actually, MORE so!

  15. Aware and Not Stupid | November 17, 2012 9:15 AM at 9:15 AM |

    It’s pretty obvious that you lefties are a bit worried that Welch may be building her base for 4 years from now and she’ll be back! It worked for Tim Fox……

  16. I wouldn’t say that everyone who voted for Welch are racists, but there’s no doubt in my mind that she carried the racist vote hands down.

  17. I notice a lot of Oil & Gas money supported Welch. Does anyone have a clue how much the Koch brothers dumped into this race and if they’re giving the “R” party money for the recount?

    They don’t like Native Americans, poor people, union members, other minoritiess voting.

    They get a seat on the land board if they win the PI race. Katie bar the door.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | November 18, 2012 9:09 AM at 9:09 AM |

      Years ago, Sen. Cornhole Burns introduced a bill that would basically sell off all our public lands to the highest bidder. His bill was laffed of the senate floor. So, the Big Kockhs needed to come up with a different strategy since outright theft of public lands wouldn’t work. What to do? What to do?

      Well, what the Big Kockhs did was to try the subtle and insidious approach. Not outright theft, but theft in small INcrements! And all perfectly “legal”! Hence, we get all these outta state dildos moving to Montana and running for land board positions! Sarah Palin Welch is simply the latest in a long line of’em.

      But really, I give her an A for arrogance and chutzpah! I mean, really, what in the freakin’ HELL does she think gives HER the right to move to Montana and start PIMPING out our shared resources?! That is the WORST kind of pimp, the corporate pimp!

      I mean, if you’ve got to go that route to enrich yourself, you were pretty much a piece-o-shit to BEGIN with! We expect that from guys like Mermaid Munchkin’ Man, but my GOD don’t the Pubbies have ANYONE who isn’t a scumbag corporate pimp?!

      Easy answer. No. The Big Kockhs and their Pubbie pals can’t STAND the thought of public lands being for the public good and held in common so that we can ALL enjoy them! They are sick, twisted, fascist bastards! And we must guard against them to keep our public lands in PUBLIC hands for future generations. Time to tell the Big Kockhs to take a flying leap at a rolling donut hole!

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