The Election Recount According to Political Science Majors

By: Neil Burger – Staff Writer

Since the presidential election on Nov. 8, a great deal of outrage amongst voters has arisen due to Donald Trump being elected through the Electoral College, while Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 2.5 million votes.

Although there is no evidence to suggest wide-scale voter fraud or Russian hacking, many have claimed that something potentially occurred given Hillary’s significant lead in the popular vote, but Trump still managing to win through the Electoral College.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein has begun an effort to initiate recounts in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, raising over 6 million dollars to do so, almost tripling the amount she raised for her presidential race.

Stein claims the recounts are motivated by a desire to ensure the integrity of the election process and to make sure that there was no tampering of any sort, particularly with electronic voting machines. In choosing the three states she did, Stein said: “What we have are predictors that if tampering took place, it would be most likely to be discovered in the three states where we are looking.”        

When asking a group of political science majors here at the University of Dayton, they felt that Stein’s recount may not be for electoral integrity like she claims, but for serving the purpose of both the Green Party and the Democratic Party in the wake of Trump’s election.

According to UD student Sam Penewit, “The recount is possibly a ploy by the Green Party to gain some extra popularity and funding, since it puts a lot of attention on Jill Stein and any money left over from the recount is also kept by the Green Party.”        

In addition to this, Penewit’s peer and fellow political science major, Cole Hepp, felt that “this recount is a symptom of the polarization that is present across the country in reaction to this heated election cycle.” Cole also felt that the recount efforts certainly favor Clinton, as only recounts are occurring in valuable rust belt states that Trump won, that if switched to Hillary after the recount, would give her the Electoral College votes she would need to win.

Fellow political science major and the third member of the group, Nichole Perkins, brought up the point, which all members of the group agreed on, that  “[the recount]” brings up the important issue of the Electoral College and whether or not it should be revised.”

Each member of the group felt that changes should be made to the system and that the popular vote should have a greater level of importance. In regards to the Electoral College, Penewit added, “Changing the Electoral College would be difficult to change as opposition or support of it tends to depend on who stands to benefit from having it in place. Both parties would likely act the same as the other is now if the roles were reversed and Hillary had won by the Electoral College, while Trump won the popular vote.”        

In regards to the recount as a whole, Perkins felt that nothing was wrong with doing a recount, with both Penewit and Hepp in agreement.

However, all three political science students felt that the recount would likely not change the outcome of the election, as much as many people would like it to, and that the outcome had to be accepted.