The GOP is asking for a recount in the state superintendent’s race, for what appears to be part of a high-intensity push to create a climate for passing voter suppression laws in Montana.
The Associated Press reported this week that the national Republican Party gave Sandy Welch (who ran against popular dem Denise Juneau) $100,000 to pay for the recount and another $100,000 to hire GOP lawyer behind Citizens United, James Bopp to sue for a recount (one she can’t win).
Bopp is an infamous national GOP lawyer who has been called “Public enemy No. 1 for fair elections,” and has worked for dozens of extreme-right groups. He appeared on the recent Frontline expose of dark money groups in Montana, saying he is working to eliminate or significantly loosen campaign spending limits and to eliminate donor-name-reporting requirements.
Here’s what’s odd: Welch can get a recount without her costly lawsuit, for a $100,000. She is allowed by law to buy a recount, in essence. But she admitted yesterday that she’s now invested $200,000, half on the fancy lawyer and lawsuit, and half on the recount cost. In the lawsuit, she is asking to get her recount cost refunded if she wins. But that still leaves a grand total investment of $100,000. So why the lawsuit?
Because the GOP wants it in the air, while they try to pass new laws that restrict voting rights, like same day registration, early voting, mail voting, etc
The GOP’s future, given the trends, is looking bleak. Not just a more liberal electorate, but a wild gang of libertarian voters defecting at a rate of anywhere from 4 to 7 percent in statewide elections. The Rs are now seeing that they must find a way to balance the scale. So they will try to minimize votes from elderly, Indians, poor, young and other voting blocks.
To do that, they’ll need to convince the legislature that there were “irregularities.” Part of this will involve deceiving the press and the public that the last election was fraught with problems and “fraud.” Hence the $100,000 lawyer.
As the Billings Gazette reports, Welch already alleges
numerous examples of alleged vote-counting errors across the state on Nov. 6, including ballots jamming in electronic counting machines, re-marking of ballots that were run through the machines multiple times, failure to give voters new ballots to replace spoiled ballots, and ballots that weren’t officially stamped.
The recount will allow the GOP to paw through every single ballot cast, to find examples of what they’ll call “fraud.”
Perhaps the Montana GOP is taking a cue from Florida Republicans, who admitted last week that the voting restrictions they passed after the 2008 elections were specifically designed to keep Democratic turnout low:
Wayne Bertsch, who handles local and legislative races for Republicans, said he knew targeting Democrats was the goal[….]
Another GOP consultant, who did not want to be named, also confirmed that influential consultants to the Republican Party of Florida were intent on beating back Democratic turnout in early voting after 2008.
[…]A GOP consultant who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution said black voters were a concern. “I know that the cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day was one of their targets only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves,” he said.