Students Torn on Election Recount
November 28, 2016
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein filed paperwork for a state ballot recount in Wisconsin on Friday. Politically involved NYU students anticipate the results, as it may unravel another layer of this election cycle.
Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Michael Hass agreed to hand-count the votes after leading computer scientists and election lawyers advised members of the Hillary Clinton campaign to request recounts in crucial swing states as they suspected the electronically-cast votes may have been manipulated.
Along with Wisconsin, Stein is also considering calling for ballot recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania. While Wisconsin holds 10 electoral votes, Michigan and Pennsylvania have 16 and 20, respectively. Should Clinton actually win these states, she would have enough votes to be the president-elect, beating Donald Trump 278 to 260.
Stein is one of four people eligible to request a state ballot recount — only presidential nominees may do so — and although it would not benefit her campaign, Stein thinks this could be the last chance to prevent a Trump presidency. But politically-active students have mixed opinions on the value and predicted success of the recount.
CAS sophomore and treasurer of College Democrats Ryan Trumbauer said that while the recount is justified, it may not change the fact that Trump is the president-elect.
“Stein has furthered an ongoing conversation this election cycle about the legitimacy of our electoral systems,” Trumbauer said in an email. “Therefore, I do not see anything inherently wrong in what she is doing. If she believes that there is serious proof of tampering of any kind within any of the states’ electoral systems, then I do not argue against wanting serious questions. However, as it stands, Donald Trump is the president-elect.”
CAS senior and President of College Democrats Michael Deluca said the recount would highlight evident issues in this year’s election, such as fake news, hacking and cybercrimes. However, he also said that questioning the election’s results could be problematic for the Democratic Party.
“I’m very hesitant to subscribe to this idea that the election was rigged, since Democrats were so critical of Trump for suggesting he wouldn’t accept the results weeks before the vote,” Deluca said in an email. “It’s unlikely to uncover any massive hacking or miscount. In Wisconsin, Clinton would need to close a gap of something like 25,000 votes, a difference greater than that which any miscount has ever corrected for. And even if it did, Clinton would need Michigan and Pennsylvania too. That’s no small task.”
Trumbauer believes that Stein’s financial support for the recount of $6 million — more money than she received throughout her entire campaign — is fully justified and is a democratic part of the political process.
“If you truly believe something is true and that there is substantial evidence supporting it, then I see nothing wrong in supporting the action financially,” Trumbauer said. “It represents people acting on their beliefs. The minute we stop letting people engage politically, I do not want to be around.”
LS sophomore and College Libertarians treasurer Logan Botello said that he hopes the recount forces some Americans to see the government system more clearly.
“The recount could be a good idea since many people were shocked and skeptical of the results,” Botello said in an email. “It is important to not have any issues in the election process, and this recount cannot have any negative outcomes.”
He thinks the main way this could benefit the country is that it can take away people’s faith in America and its systems.
However, Trumbauer said that with such a tumultuous election cycle already this year, whoever emerges as the true president-elect after the recount might not be a surprise either way.
“Of course there is a chance that Hillary could win the recount in Wisconsin and, if filed, in other states as well,” Trumbauer said. “There was also a chance that Donald Trump could become president and that the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series this year. Both of those things happened. If 2016 has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected and still be shocked by the results.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 28 print edition. Email Natasha Roy at [email protected]