Election Transparency Must be Apolitical

For those of you who have been following the recount saga in Wisconsin, here is a bit of news, and a reflection on that.

So, the news from a couple of days ago (I’m just catching up) is that the process of re-counting is complete, but the resolution of that close election may not be.  The re-counting did not change which candidate is leading, and apparently expanded the margin slightly.

Trailing candidate Joanne Kloppenburg explains her motivation for the recount in a newspaper letter to the editor, building on the old but true assertion that, “One may be entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.”

We steer clear of political food fights, and I have no opinion on her motivation. But we are all about transparency and transparency should not have any political agenda attached.

To that end, what Kloppenburg does point about some of the irregularities, problems, and issues with the re-counting process (which are not the same as the problems with the original count), including lack of physical security on ballots, and uncertainty as to whether the re-counted ballots were the same ballots as the originally counted ones — are reasonable questions about transparency.  More importantly, Kloppenburg offers some reflections about the re-count that are important and correctly apolitical:

When races are this close, there is a significant public interest established both by statute and by common sense in determining that votes were counted and counted accurately.

This election was close, and there were many who have expressed doubts about whether it was clean. The right to vote is fundamental. It is a right that courageous people fight and die for every day.  In America, that right carries with it a promise: that elections are fair and open, that election results are untainted by deceit or fraud, and that the electoral process provides every eligible voter with an equal opportunity to privately and independently cast a ballot.

In order to make that promise real, there are appropriate and established steps that help make sure the outcome of elections, when in doubt, can withstand scrutiny. That, no more and no less, is exactly why this recount is so important.

That is, in fact, a fine description of the purpose of a recount.

It’s unfortunate that in this particular case, the re-count process seems to have a similar or greater level of problems that cast doubt on the result.  We can only hope that the full scope of the process, warts and all, becomes transparent to the public.

For me, I find that regardless of candidate or political preferences, there is a point couched in the last two sentences excerpted from her letter that matters most:

…there are appropriate and established steps that help make sure the outcome of elections, when in doubt, can withstand scrutiny

Transparency in process.  There should be nothing political about that.


2 responses to “Election Transparency Must be Apolitical

  1. Hi,

    …there are NOT appropriate steps that make sure the outcome of elections, can withstand scrutiny…

    Before the next election (fed, state, local):
    …there WILL be appropriate steps to ensure the outcome…

    Good News:
    Wisconsin’s state wide vote count accuracy rate is approx 99.82%.
    (Put another way, its error rate is approx 0.18%) These numbers
    were figured from the raw info found on WI GAB public web page
    for the justice race recount.

    Wisconsin seems to have a higher consideration for voters’ “Full
    Voting Rights” than many other states that have been reviewed.

    One of the good steps Wisconsin has is the higher recount
    consideration levels. Some states only allow a niggardly 0.1%.

    A “Fill Voting Right” vote count should have three major steps:

    1. Closing Count on election day.
    a) All ballots should be counted on election day at their assigned
    precincts. Yes, that includes early ballots, absentee ballots,
    military ballots…etc, and electionday ballots. (there should be
    no provisional ballots…if the want-to-be voter qualifies, the
    voter get a ballot.)
    b) Complete election day reports; seal machines, if used;…etc.
    c) and before workers and official go home perform step 2.

    2. Verification hand count.
    a) Hand count every vote on every ballot and record results on
    verification count report. This count will include voters intent.
    b) If the verification count equals the closing count, then the
    closing count becomes the official count for that precinct.
    c) If the verification count is not the same as the closing count,
    then the verification count becomes the official count for that

    3. Recount
    a) Anyone can request a recount.
    b) A fee should be charged with the request. (fee refundable if
    outcome changes)
    c) The election budget shall cover the cost of the recount.

    These three steps should be applied to all elections (fed, state, local).

    The location of these three step should be published and made open
    to the public.

    These three steps shall be made part of election laws…and then
    spelled out in election procedures.

    These three steps give honor and respect to the voters…and voters
    need to pay-back by volunteering as a electionworker/official.

    These three step may/will minimize the chain-of-custody issues
    throughout the counting process.

    Of great importance the above three steps move the public confidence
    level from 0% to 100%. Right now in many states this level is at 0%.

    These three steps give the voter prime considerations…not to us
    election workers and election officials. Thats why we workers and
    officials volunteered…we are here to serve.

    Thanks and Good Luck,

    Frank Henry
    Election Worker
    Former Election Official
    (Election Integrity (EI) Observer)
    Cottonwood, Arizona
    Tel: 928-649-0249
    e-mail: fmhenry4@netzero.com

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