Why do recounts matter?

Well, here's the impact of the 2004 recount:

The 2004 Green Party presidential campaign of David Cobb and Pat LaMarche led investigations and demanded recounts in Ohio and New Mexico in the wake of widespread complaints about disqualification and obstruction of legitimate voters. The complaints came mostly from majority-black precincts and college campuses, and included allegations of tampering with computer voting machines on Election Day.

Democrats, led by nominee John Kerry, were silent in response to these complaints. A notable exception was U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who held hearings on the Ohio election theft and published "What Went Wrong in Ohio." A few local Democrats in Ohio spoke up, but the Green Party ultimately led the charge. Cobb was joined by Libertarian nominee Michael Badnarik, although Greens did most of the recount work. Greens raised the money to file the initial recount and litigated all the issues in court. Democrats and the major media have swept most of this under the rug—especially the role of the Green Party. Greens stood up for clean elections in 2004 and exposed GOP irregularities, while Democrats (who should have learned something from 2000) looked the other way.

Here are additional concrete, tangible results of the 2004 recount efforts:

  1. The investigation uncovered evidence that led to the conviction of two Republican operatives in Cuyahoga County, greater caution in many states regarding computer voting and the decision in some states not to use Diebold machines in future elections.
  2. It helped to accelerate the growth of the "Election Integrity" movement, which is largely responsible for the halt of the proliferation of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) machines (which is renowned for "Black Box Voting").
  3. The recount helped to provoke a "top to bottom" review of the California voting systems by then-Secretary of State Debra Bowen. This led to DREs being outlawed in that state.
  4. New Mexico Green Rick Lass helped organize a citizens' lobbying effort that culminated in that state revamping its voting system: They eliminated all DREs and went to a full paper-ballot system. They instituted mandatory audits. They instituted state-funded recounts in any state races where the reported margin of victory is 0.5% or less.
  5. A group of citizens from Minnesota participated as election observers in the Ohio recount, and were so appalled by their experience that they created Citizens for Election Integrity, a nonpartisan organization advocating for verifiable, transparent and accurate elections across the country. Their searchable database of recount/audit laws is the premiere source of information for anyone attempting to understand this complicated legal landscape.