This has been heavy on my mind for some time. Here are the basics:
Steve Osborn, recently defeated Libertarian candidate for US Senate, asked for a recount of 10 precincts. Steve did not issue a statement.
The lack of a statement has allowed people to interpret the request any way they choose. That's unfortunate, because there are plenty of media people like Jim Shella who like to beat on Libertarians whenever they can. Observe Shella's blog post on the recount. (Shella needs permalinks!)
Steve Osborn's request for a recount in the Senate race he lost by a million votes is not just silly, it goes against Libertarian philosophy. The Libertarians always preach less government. Now we are spending taxpayer dollars to recount a race where there is no chance, none at all, that the outcome will change.
If the Libertarians were in charge, would we even have a recount commission?
The comment about spending taxpayer dollars is, by the way, the same reaction many Libertarians had upon first hearing of the recount request. I myself was irate at it because without a statement I could only take it on its' face. Moreover, as the Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State who ran on VVPAT and election issues, I rather felt like Joe Pearson, when he was stepped on by Pat Bauer during the campaign. Steve could have had me on board, along with the rest of the Libertarian Party. Alas. Here is Steve Osborn's non-statement about why he filed it:
Though I am declining comment into specifics at this time about all the reasons for the recount request, I have fully complied with the requirements of Indiana law, and expect the Indiana Recount Commission to grant my petition (which they did; see below), and to perform the requested recounts (tentatively scheduled for December 11th).
This is senseless. It gives dolts like Shella the opportunity to malign us with their interpretations. Steve, you took whatever good message you had and threw it in the toilet.
There are many good reasons to ask for a small recount such as this, such as quality control. Any manufacturer pulls a small percentage of the product off the assembly line to inspect it. The elections are important enough to warrant the same behavior. Inspect a small number to verify the results. With the new electronic machines, and in the absence of voter verified paper audit trails (VVPAT), this is absolutely essential.
But Steve wouldn't say so. Thank goodness the Libertarian Party of LaPorte County has issued a statement:
The Libertarian Party of LaPorte County (LPLP) issued a statement that it fully supports Senate Candidate Steve Osborn's recount audit requested for 10 precincts in Northern Indiana. LPLP Chair Doug Barnes said, "Electronic voting is in its infancy, and we need to ensure the integrity of this new type of voting. Voting machines need to have a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), coupled with random post-election audits in a limited number of precincts. Senator Lugar is going to retain his position. An audit is not going to change that. We are not suggesting any impropriety, and we would be shocked if there were any, but it has been increasingly documented in the past two years that the potential for technical problems with electronic voting machines, and even abuse, exists more than it did previously."
If that's why it was done, I'd help lead the cheers. However, Steve Osborn is the petitioner and he refuses to say that these are his reasons. So, while I back the LPLP's explanation, I can't back Osborn's action. The LPLP statement is as much an interpretation as Shella's blog entry. I want it from the man himself.
To answer Shella's question- Yes, absolutely Libertarians would have a recount commission! Libertarians may not believe in funding a lot of government, but voting is one proper and necessary area for it. Nothing is more essential to a government formed by votes than the integrity of the process leading to faith in the legitimacy of that process.