Saturday, November 18th, 2017

Is a recount in the Prosser-Kloppenburg race even needed?


Is a recount even needed? I asked that question the other night on Twitter, and it looks like the answer is no. The difference between JoAnne Kloppenburg and Justice David Prosser is just too big for any recount to overcome.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial page says as long as the margin holds up there probably won’t be a need for a recount.

But if the result holds up, as seems likely, Kloppenburg probably would be wasting time and money in seeking a recount. She has every right to do so, of course, and we’re sure the urge is there. But a recount of a 7,000-vote difference probably would not overturn the results of the election and would add to the increasing divisiveness in Wisconsin.

Justice David Prosser appears to have won re-election, and that’s something – barring some other bizarre revelation – that all sides should accept.

Let’s take a look at some numbers, shall we?

The most infamous recent recount is the Senate race in Minnesota between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. At the end of the first count, Coleman led by 215 votes. Franken ended up winning by 312 votes. Even if you believe Franken won by fraud (I do not) that’s only a 527 vote swing.

In 2004 in the race for governor in Washington, Dino Rossi led Christine Gregoire by 261 votes, triggering an automatic recount. After the machine recount, Rossi led by 42 votes. With ballots magically appearing during a manual recount of nearly 3,000,000 ballots, Gregoire finally “won” by 129 votes. Out of nearly 3,000,000 votes cast, the swing was still only 390 votes, a far cry from the over 7000 votes Kloppenburg will have to make up in this election with have that many total votes cast statewide.

One more case? In 1996 in Lousiana, Democrat Mary Landrieu defeated Republican Woody Jenkins in an infamous US Senate race where some claimed to have voted multiple times for money but were then stiffed and given only a t-shirt. Landrieu won by only 5788 votes. Jenkins supporters claimed that they found 7454 “phantom or illegal votes.”

Let’s understand that the ballot box stuffing in the Louisiana case occurred on election day – before the votes were counted. Even if the entire Louisiana Democratic operation were imported to Wisconsin now, after the election, there is no way the Democrats could find or manufacture over 7000 votes.

Barring another Kathy Nickolaus-scale screw up in Milwaukee County’s tally, this race is over. When the canvass is complete, JoAnnne Kloppenburg should concede rather than waste taxpayer money asking for a recount. This state has been through enough, and it’s time for some adult on the Democratic side (if one can be found) to call off the conspiracy theory talk and end this nonsense.

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