There is a growing movement in the United States at present to call for recounts in the presidential election in marginal states where there are allegations that irregularities and polling interference may have occurred. Already, the Green Party candidate for president, Jill Stein, who finished fourth in the race won by Republican Donald Trump, has secured a recount of ballots in Wisconsin. There are moves to obtain similar recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania. These were states won by Trump and should the recounts reverse those results, it would open the door for defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to take the White House. While she lost the all-important and decisive electoral college vote, she has two million more popular votes over President-elect Trump.
For Clinton’s part, she has kept out of the calls, lest she be seen to be less than magnanimous over the result.
Sceptics might view these moves for recounts as nothing more than sour grapes and amount to nothing more than a last-ditch attempt to overcome the democratic will of Americans. Nonetheless, there is an important principle at stake. The US prides itself on an election process that is above reproach, superior to others that occur in lesser democracies and one that is transparent.
That being the case, full transparency necessitates that the votes be recounted should they be tinged with the slightest hint of transgression. It was, after all, Trump who had claimed that the election process was rigged as he campaigned hard in the final weeks and days before balloting. And it was he who had said that he would not accept the result if he lost. It therefore seems less than honest that he now criticises the calls for recounts, but consistency has never been his abiding principle.