Stop The Vote Tally? Engage A Partisan Supreme Court To Overturn The Election? 2000 Election Dissection ‘Recount’ Filmmakers Jay Roach & Danny Strong Debate Similarities On Where Trump-Biden Might Be Headed

We are inhaling like oxygen every development of the contentious Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden White House battle as it moves from ballot counting to the courtroom as Trump tries to overturn the likely victory that will be awarded to the former Vice President. The last time Republicans ran that gauntlet was in 2000, when a U.S. Supreme Court decision handed the presidency to Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore.

Since news networks seem to be repeating the same stuff over and over as they wait to see if Biden can cross 270 electoral college votes, how about a dishy dissection of the similarities between 2000 and 2020 from director Jay Roach and writer Danny Strong, who made the HBO films Recount and Game Change. Latter is the drama on how Republican presidential candidate John McCain tried to match the star power of his charismatic newcomer Democratic challenger Barack Obama by tapping as his running mate Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who was as much an outsider to national politics as was Donald Trump.

Since they are as distracted by the battle for the White House as the rest of us, Roach and Strong agreed to share what they learned from the film in dissecting the differences and similarities between 2000 and what might happen if as expected Biden is designated president-elect and Trump’s lawyers try to overturn the results.

DEADLINE: Your Bush-Gore election drama Recount and McCain-Obama film Game Change have parallels to what we’ve seen unfold this week, as President Donald Trump is about to lose and seek Supreme Court help to overturn the election. What has this week been like for you?

JAY ROACH: There’s almost a professional requirement to keep up. I am too immersed in it. Making those films has been a therapeutic coping strategy, because we got inside it and have knowledge and that is therapy. You can at least see things coming and the way campaigns spin the idea of a recount and what’s at stake. The chaos, all those things. Danny and I in the research watched it unfold and re-created 2000. You think, I thought we were telling a cautionary tale and these were films that were supposed to have taught us how to avoid this in the future. And you go, I recognize that and we’ve been here before.

DANNY STRONG: I’m pretty calm. Doing these films, you learn so much about the process. I got to know and stayed friends with a whole lot of election operatives in both parties. I’ve been keeping tabs with everyone. And around 2 a.m. on election night when Fox News called Arizona — which I still think will be one of the more surprising things that happened on election night, that Fox News called Arizona when they did — there was a calmness with the Democrats, an understanding of what absentee and mail-in ballots were out in which counties. By 3 in the morning I was told vote totals in different states and they seem to be coming true. They have this down to a science.

ROACH: Danny, couldn’t you have called me and been a little reassuring at that time?

STRONG: You should have reached out if you needed that. People are constantly texting me, asking for information. The Democrats are pretty clear that they were going to take Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, and they didn’t even need all those states. Yesterday, I kept saying Georgia and the professional operatives said I was the only one that felt that way, and by 2 [on Wednesday], I got the texts that Georgia is in play and by last night that it was probably going to happen. It’s looking like Biden is going to take them all except North Carolina, which nobody thought he was going to take. I have been relatively calm, but you have moments. The counting is going very slowly; Nevada doesn’t move for a day and a half. It seems very close, but even if you follow Jon Ralston on Twitter, the election guru from the state of Nevada, he’s said since early Wednesday that the counties yet to be counted are heavily blue and Biden’s got it.

ROACH: Do you think some of these challenges will trigger actual recounts and kick into more? What I learned from working on our film is, there are levers of power that can be pulled, as we saw happen in Florida. Where, depending on who controlled what house in the state system, there can be ways of getting ballots thrown out and processes undermined. Does that make you nervous? This is just the phase before what we covered in the film.

STRONG: I don’t feel nervous at all, if these numbers I’m being told hold up. If Biden wins by three states, then [Trump] is going to call for a recount? Michigan, I don’t believe he can call for a recount because it’s past the required time. Pennsylvania, he won’t be able to call for a recount if Biden wins by 100,000 votes, as I am hearing. You’ve got Wisconsin, which he can and has asked for a recount in; it looks like he’s going to lose the election and it will be certified as a 20,000-vote loss. Forget it. A recount would be a giant waste of time. The only way you can win a recount is if you are under 1000 votes. If I was on a campaign I wouldn’t feel good unless the difference was under 500 votes, or 300 votes.

ROACH: When the Florida recount began, the vote difference was over 1000. And as we learned from the media recount afterward, if the Gore campaign hadn’t chickened out and actually demanded on counting all the votes — there’s question they could have — they might have won.

STRONG: On election night, it was 1800 votes. That triggered an automatic statewide recount. Florida law at that time was, if the vote on election night, or when the votes are counted, is under 0.5%, it goes into automatic recount. Wisconsin doesn’t have that. Michigan, you have to be under 2000 votes to trigger an automatic recount. After the automatic recount was triggered in Florida, they did pick up 1300 votes and it ended at 537 votes.

ROACH: The point is, the numbers have to be close.

STRONG: It’s a waste of time, otherwise. Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, tweeted saying you can’t win a recount, being down 20,000 votes. They’ve done maybe two recounts in Wisconsin in the last five years or so, and one picked up 120 votes and the other roughly 200. That’s how small the margins move in these statewide recounts. None of these states will be that close. Maybe Georgia? But why are you going to have a recount in Georgia when you’ve lost the election by three states?

ROACH: In Texas, they could have invalidated 120,000 votes but didn’t. If you could somehow get a giant tranche of votes thrown out, you might be talking about much bigger numbers, but that doesn’t seem practical. As for the Supreme Court I hope they will remain devoted to letting the states figure it out. It has been John Roberts’ thing.

STRONG: There are too many states here. If this had come down to one state, like Florida…that’s why I don’t think this is similar to 2000, at all. The 2000 election, one state, 537 votes, that election can be flipped in a statewide hand recount. That can actually happen. This is not one state, it’s going to be three or four and even if it was two states, you would require so many egregious decisions made by the judiciary to throw out so many votes…

ROACH: But I just don’t see chaos being a factor that intimidates the Trumps.

STRONG: I’m not talking about the Trump campaign, I’m talking about the judiciary. Are you going to find a judge who is going to make a crazy decision to throw out 50,000 votes, when it won’t even give the guy the election? But that Texas ruling; I have friends, Democrats, who were freaked out. They said this was a very conservative judge who ruled against DACA. We’re screwed. I didn’t believe that judge would throw out 127,000 votes, because it would have been obscene. And he didn’t. He threw the case out of court. That’s what we’re seeing here. Judges are saying, well what have you got? As of now, they’ve got nothing.

DEADLINE: Danny said it’s not like 2000. What parts of this week brings about a sense of déjà vu?

ROACH: Watching the poll workers assemble with such conviction and determination to work crazy hours, with intense focus and people already banging on the glass outside, keeping their heads down and serving the country and defending democracy by the simple act of just staying the course and focusing on getting it right. To me that’s the most moving thing. Danny and I got to talk to election officials in many counties across Florida; the attention to detail, the desire to get it right, was so moving. You would think our movie was just about the chaos, but the way Danny put it together, one of the themes that held it together was the faith people gained from hearing from those devoted to the idea of the electoral process. Seeing that happen again gives me some peace of mind.

DEADLINE: A lot of dirty tricks happened in Recount. Jay alluded to that group of young Republicans who stormed a recount in the Brooke Brothers riot and in the movie we hear they were Republican staffers flown in on the Enron jet. A lot can happen. Take the Supreme Court. I can’t imagine it coincidence that each time you showed a Supreme Court justice venturing an opinion or asking a question, you put in verbiage that told us which president appointed that judge. They were all Republicans, from Gerald Ford to Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush. You sure there’s no concern for the possibility of manipulation of the beautiful system Jay just described?

STRONG: I hope I am not being Pollyanna-ish or a buzz kill to the thesis of the discussion of comparing this to Recount. But I don’t feel alarmed. The votes have been cast and they’re being counted, exactly how the system is supposed to work. The people saying the system is not working correctly are, in fact, lying. They are creating an absurd false narrative, saying we need to shut down the counting of votes that have been legally cast. But what’s tying it into the theater of the absurd is, he’s asking to shut down states where Biden is in the lead. If you shut down the counting, he would be the loser in that state. Other states like Arizona, they are demanding they count all the votes. Wisconsin, they’re demanding a recount. In Michigan and Pennsylvania, they’re demanding to stop counting. If you stop, he’s lost the election. In Michigan he’s behind by a sizeable number of votes, like 140,000.

The election officials are handling it exactly as they are supposed to. They are counting votes that were legally cast. Where the malfeasance is, the fact we are counting Pennsylvania at all right now, we’re counting it because the legislature in Pennsylvania said that absentee and mail-in ballots have to be counted last. So they couldn’t begin counting until the day after Election Day. Why? It’s totally impractical. We could easily, like Florida and so many other states, know by election night what the tally was in Pennsylvania. If that was the case, this election probably would have been over on election night because it’s looking like Biden is going to win by 100,000 votes. If the law had been as it should be, that at a certain point they can tally the absentee and mail in ballots before Election Day so by that night we have a close count, the whole perception of this election would be completely different. The one thing that is most disturbing about this election, which is not getting much attention, are the ballots that are stuck in the post office, that weren’t delivered. Supposedly there are 300,000 ballots that Postmaster General [Louis] Dejoy, hid or forgot about…

ROACH: A malfunction or a slowdown that contributed to them not being delivered.

STRONG: A judge ordered him on Election Day to go through and find ballots and get them delivered, and he defied the court order. And now he has been held in contempt. That is the thing that everyone should be extremely concerned about.

ROACH: That is what I mean about the levers of power. There are levers and maybe more that can be pulled here. You don’t want to get paranoid about it, but you see that happening and thank goodness for our great journalists; without them uncovering this we wouldn’t even know about it.

STRONG: My takeaway is the system is working. The people protesting outside Arizona, where Trump supporters saying count the vote, and in Michigan where they say shut the counting, is a mixed message. It does have the vibe of the Brooks Brothers mob in Florida from our movie.

ROACH: I think our film taught them to put that fence up around Maricopa County…

DEADLINE: That was the well-dressed group the Republicans brought in pretending to be locals, whom a cop fooled by their mature dress and clean-cut looks let them into the lobby in Miami-Dade County, where they successfully intimidated the counters into stopping their recount.

STRONG: Jay at one point cut real footage of the Brooks Brothers mob into the movie. It’s seamless, but so clever of Jay to do, because if people said, you are portraying us unfairly, we could say no, we have the actual footage in the movie. The Miami Canvassing Board stopped the recount and it shut down because of that. That’s the only thing so far I’ve seen that reminds me of 2000.

ROACH: But that reminds me of the way most of these operatives work. Danny and I got to meet up with one of the operatives who claimed a certain amount of authorship of the Brooks Brothers riot, which was portrayed as some grassroots thing but turned out to be a bunch of staffers from Washington. This goes back to our being obsessed with the operatives, the lawyers and the normal spin-doctor dirty-trickster guys. They use disinformation that, so sadly, works. A lot of the time you can control the narrative or at least provoke that kind of hostility by deceiving people. I remember them saying in Recount, “You can’t really hand count votes, it’s never safe, and old people drop them on floors and step on them.” Well, they have been hand counting votes since the birth of our nation and suddenly it’s some fraudulent exercise? Just like Trump’s saying now, mail-in ballots, nobody votes with mail-in ballots! Like 25% of the votes cast in the past few years have been mail-in ballots. That kind of disinformation pattern, it enrages you, to see how those operatives rely on that. It has flipped; in 2000, Gore was behind and had to fight for the recount and here, Trump is behind. And yet, the disinformation is still coming from the one side, primarily. There is just a machine of disinformation on the right, right now, that’s designed to discredit the most important bedrock institution of our democracy, which is the electoral process.

The other thing I’m reminded of. Remember Danny when we went to Palm Beach and got taken on their vote tallying tour. A guy said something that should have been obvious but just clicked. The only way to measure if an electoral process works is if it’s fair enough and transparent enough that when the loser loses, he says, alright, I lost. I can see it was a fair election, good luck. The fairness of the election process to be convincing to the loser, is the whole enchilada. Trump is now making that particular part of the electoral process seem unachievable. It’s never fair enough for him, unless he wins. If he’s not winning, it’s corrupt, it’s fraud. That is so much a part of the disinformation thing. I thought our film might have been a good warning about that. In a way it said to the operatives, that was too close; we’d better dis-inform people a lot more next time to make more of an impact.

STRONG: Here’s another parallel to Recount. Though Trump started it around 2:30 in the morning when he gave that speech, what you’re seeing is an attempt to try and discredit the entire process. The entire election, voting in every state that now is still in play. I demand the counting stop! It’s absurd and in Trump’s speech, he was naming states he said he’d won, and he hadn’t won them. And everybody knew it. All the Republicans operatives have the same data Republicans do; they see that he’s very likely going to lose by multiple states. I think you’re seeing a very desperate effort to discredit the election on the whole.

Even if it hadn’t gone down the way it has and Trump lost Florida and it was over earlier, we’d be hearing the exact same rhetoric from Trump because this is who he is, as a candidate and a person. There’s nothing surprising coming from their camp, though if you watched Fox News Thursday you’re starting to hear the talking points from so many people of irregularities that have never happened in the history of these states. Don Jr had a tweet that the corruption that has existed in these elections for generations, we have to weed it out. Well you didn’t hear any of that when Trump won the Rust Belt four years ago? I guess for one election that was OK but now…

ROACH: It’s a disgrace! People are counting votes!

STRONG: I think the arguments coming from them are blatantly dishonest and ridiculous and that is why it isn’t really resonating and they should have very little success in any of these court cases.

DEADLINE: A moment on President Trump. He makes a speech claiming victory on election night, and talks about going to the Supreme Court. Recount was about a trip through the layers of local and state government, before reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump is talking about going right to the Supreme Court, where he just installed Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the third conservative Supreme Court justice he has installed during his first term. It sounded like he was saying, I have pull in that court. How concerned are you about this?

STRONG: He publicly stated his game plan, multiple times. Which is, this election will end up in the Supreme Court, wink, wink. At least in the case of Florida in 2000, it didn’t just end up in the Supreme Court. You had everyday court cases all over the state, legal wrangling that went to the Florida Supreme Court. More counting and more legal battles. What people don’t remember is the Supreme Court rejected hearing that case, at first. It was knocked back down to the state Supreme Court, which ordered a statewide recount which was the fairest moment in the 36-day fiasco, which was finally saying, recount all the votes.

ROACH: Forget the four-county plan which the Gore campaign asked for.

STRONG: The point of this whole tirade is, it just didn’t end up in the Supreme Court. It came after all the legal wrangling over a very specific issue, allowing the recounts to continue. What is Trump going to go to the Supreme Court and ask for? That four different states throw out ballots? On what grounds? I don’t even know why the Supreme Court would hear the case. In the individual cases, the one in Michigan got thrown out. Asking for counting to stop. That’s not going to happen. They’re desperate, flailing and they’ve run out of options. It’s going to help in the aftermath for him to discredit the election to his supporters, so there is something to be gained I guess. But it’s a real legal Hail Mary.

DEADLINE: But there is a moment in your movie where we hear Gore’s voice, after the Supreme Court ruled that ballot counting must stop, which gave the White House to George W Bush. Gore says, So the Supreme Court stopped the count, and now they won’t restart the count because the clock has run out. Meaning, the Supreme Court action forced the clock to run out and the court gave the victory to Bush. Was I misreading your choice to note which president appointed each of those Supreme Court justices? Were you suggesting the Supreme Court rendered a decision based on partisan politics?

STRONG: …Yes. I think Bush v Gore was an incredibly partisan vote. There was no reason to shut the recount down. The Florida Supreme Court should have been in charge of that. The U.S. Supreme Court sent it back to them a week earlier. A statewide recount was occurring and there was just no reason to shut the recount down. Even in the stay, Justice [Antonin] Scalia said they were going to stay the counting to have oral argument. The reasoning, the counting of votes could cause irreparable harm to George W. Bush by casting a cloud over the election. Well, the irreparable harm was done to Al Gore, to not have actual counting, and George W. Bush would be a victim of irreparable harm because his election was under a cloud when those votes were not counted in the recount. The legal reasoning behind Scalia’s stay was incredibly biased and I have no doubt that if the roles had been reversed and it was Gore ahead and Bush seeking the statewide recount, that Scalia’s reasoning would have been the exact opposite. That’s when you can accuse someone of being partisan, when if it was the other candidate, they would have made the exact opposite decision.

DEADLINE: Who’s to say that won’t happen again, with the large number of conservative judges placed by the Trump administration in courts across the country. They’ve got a strong conservative margin in the Supreme Court. Don’t you worry of the potential for a replay of what you just described?

ROACH: I do. We got to know the lawyers for both camps pretty well. Ron Klain, whose experience we went through up close, Ben Ginsberg and Secretary James Baker. I never want to underestimate the cleverness of recount lawyers, after watching them succeed in winning these cases which should have been left to the state to work out. This is completely opposite of the way that John Roberts is approaching these cases now. [Samuel] Alito and those guys are essentially saying it has to be the legislature and Roberts is saying, it has to be the states. If there are arguments, then the Supreme Courts in the states should hear them and we as a federal institution should probably stay out of it. Except in egregious cases. But there are some very smart lawyers who press for recounts, these recount samurai who fight on both sides of the issue, depending on who’s behind and ahead. I get nervous when I think of how many Republican Trump appointees are on federal appeals courts now and the Trump appointees on the Supreme Court now. I won’t doubt the cleverness of these lawyers to find ways to keep fighting, even just to drag this out and delegitimize it. Even if Trump loses in the end, it’s in his interests to keep himself a power player in American politics and create as much confusion and de-legitimization for Biden as he possibly can. That goes for the whole party. I would not be surprised if they found ways to use the courts to do that.

STRONG: I would be more nervous if it came down to one state where the vote was close. I would then be pretty rattled; I feel like [Justice Brett] Kavanaugh’s opinion in the Pennsylvania ruling felt like it was setting up a scenario; the Pennsylvania legislature, by not allowing mail-in and absentee ballots to be counted before Election Day, is all about setting out a scenario in which something like this could occur. But I think it just didn’t work because Trump is going to lose too many states.

I think he’ll lose by three or four states and you’d have to make egregious, corrupt legal decisions in state after state. It feels like a bridge way too far. He’ll lose the popular vote by 4 million to 5 million. If he loses Georgia, Pennsylvania and he already lost Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada, then Biden will be over 300 electoral votes and 4 million in the popular vote. For the Supreme Court to overrule that would be them saying, the United States of America does not exist anymore. In Bush v Gore, yes it was very partisan but it was a very chaotic election, all these legal battles day after day. There was a decision they could make that recounting all these votes was unfair after the chaos; there was legal reasoning behind Bush v Gore even if it was a highly partisan decision. If the U.S. Supreme Court here wants to throw out these results, then the United States is over.

DEADLINE: There’s a part in Game Change that made me think of Trump’s post-election speech claiming victory. Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin insisted on giving a concession speech after John McCain’s loss to Obama, which no veep had ever done before. Trump gets up and probably undoes every covert strategy his camp was trying to do, by declaring victory with no basis, and charging fraud, and saying he’s going to the Supreme Court. How much do you think Trump being an outsider like Palin made him shoot himself in the foot by showing his hand?

STRONG: That’s what he does, right? Tells you what he’s going to do. To me he came across as buffoonish. With Game Change, the point of the film was our elections were becoming more like reality shows, personality over substance. That’s how the Republicans viewed Obama and how Democrats viewed Sarah Palin. We end up with a reality show president.

ROACH: With Game Change and Recount, I thought, aren’t these films the perfect cautionary tale to warn you about the reality show personality?

STRONG: I guess that didn’t work, but it has been exciting to see all the Recount references. We made it 12 years ago for it to be so cited…

ROACH: It’s a mix of gratifying, and heartbreaking. You want that to be something like, oh that happened, and it will never happen again. Not that way with that strong-handed attempt to delegitimize the whole thing. Are we going to go through that whole nightmare thing, where we are brought to that precipice? Is democracy that fragile and in jeopardy? Is that really where we are at? That’s what I hoped the film would do, lead to a stronger commitment to election reform and systems that would prevent voter suppression and vote purges. Instead, I feel like it has emboldened them to purge and suppress more aggressively.

STRONG: Going into an election, scared that absentee and mail-in ballots won’t be counted because a state decided that no ballots can be counted after Election Day, when at the same time you’ve deemed these ballots can’t be counted until after the other ballots are counted? It’s diabolical.

ROACH: You’re probably right, Danny, they won’t get away with it. Now it’s, forget deadlines on when elections have to be decided, let’s stretch it as long as possible with recounts.

STRONG: Dragging it out is beneficial to Donald Trump and his strategy to de-legitimize the election. I don’t think that will overturn anything. His plan of discrediting the election and saying this process is corrupt and fraudulent, the more time this takes the more it helps by making his supporters angrier. The Fox News rhetoric is getting much hotter and I’m sure that will continue.

ROACH: He wants to retain that power and maintain that energized base. Sarah Palin wanted that too, but didn’t get it because she discredited herself so thoroughly. Our film and other retellings of her story contributed to that. I think he believes he can retain that, especially in the way he tried to delegitimize Obama by claiming he was not American. He’ll now be on a full time campaign to paint Biden and Harris as illegitimate leaders, so that his group can sustain whatever power and levers they have over the political process. This is really sad and such a scorched earth approach to America. For people who call themselves patriotic, it seems the opposite of patriotism. Like, we are now going to destroy the foundations and de-legitimize everything people count on to choose leaders and hand power from one administration to the other. We don’t care. That is dark.

DEADLINE: In your minds, did Gore have his presidency taken from him? Was he the rightful winner?

STRONG: There are a few answers. More people went to vote for Gore in the state of Florida on Election Day than George W. Bush, by 10,000 to 20,000 votes. There were malfunctions not just in West Palm Beach but two other counties. Huge number of under-votes and over-votes in three counties due to either ballot error, or wrong instructions on the sample ballot. The number of disqualified votes he had was tremendous. That’s bad luck, even if there was some malfeasance. Just take West Palm Beach; the number of people who voted for Pat Buchanan, it was well over 570 votes intended for Al Gore on Election Day. In the statewide recounts that occurred, it’s unfortunately quite confusing. If you only count the under-votes where machines registered no vote choice for president, but in a hand recount you can determine what the voter intended…it’s a small number of ballots, but that is what they counted, during the statewide recount. Under any counting scenario, if you counted hanging or dimpled chads that were disqualified, George W. Bush would have won by a razor-thin number of votes.

If you counted the over-votes, where the ballot was disqualified because the voter voted for two people for president, some over-votes are countable, if they voted for Bush and then wrote in his name. That ballot is disqualified, but in a hand recount you can determine the intent of the voter and clearly that’s a Bush vote. If you had counted the under-votes and the over-votes, which is the totality of the uncounted votes in the state of Florida, Al Gore wins under any counting standards, by 70-200 votes. You say Bush won because they were only counting under-votes? Here, the plot thickens. The judge in charge of the entire statewide recount was on his way to a hearing to determine if he was going to allow over-votes, when the U.S. Supreme Court shut it down. After the fact, he stated that yeah, he was going to allow over-votes. Had that occurred, had the counting continued, Al Gore would have won by 70-200 votes. Because that margin is so thin and those numbers are based on an 18-month media recount, who knows if on the day, it would have come out that way?

ROACH: We almost put in a crawl to express that. Gore was accused of being too statesmanlike and too invested in the legitimization of the election process. Compare Al Gore’s thought process and his decision to concede, and give the greatest speech of his life that re-legitimized the election process, in his concession speech. Compare that to what Trump is about to do and see the quality of the individual and what we’re up against in the battle between patriotism and not patriotism.

We learned later from that media recount that some of the ballots had disappeared, so instead of the crawl we instead did that pullback last shot of the boxes of ballots in the warehouse, like Raiders of the Lost Ark. Like, somewhere in there maybe the truth lies, but who knows?

STRONG: We couldn’t make that scroll work, it was too wonky.

ROACH: The person who advised against it was a very important person in our lives, for advice. Sydney Pollack said, you don’t need that, your film tells the whole story. And he died the day after it came out. I got involved because Danny wrote this great script and Sydney had been working on the project and got sick and asked me to step in. That started my whole trajectory in this political film business. That final shot said it all.

DEADLINE: Based on all you went through, anything folks going through the lawsuits coming this weekend, any cautionary pearls of wisdom to guard against?

STRONG: Anyone whose slogan or talking point is to stop vote counting, is inherently anti-democratic, anti the principals of democracy in this nation. Former Secretary of State James Baker, who led the Bush side in the fight in Recount, said this week that votes should be counted. Anyone who advocates not counting votes is doing it for self-interest and not the principles of this country. I would be wary and conscious of anyone from any party who tries to shut down the counting of votes.

ROACH: I would go further. Anyone who now, after these two experiences, is not in favor of a deep reconsideration of our voting process is also possibly not paying attention to how fragile our democracy is. James Baker was a great champion as was Jimmy Carter of voter reform. They tried in 2004 with the Commission on Federal Election Reform. People have tried to pass HR 1, which would make it easier to vote and make it less confusing and more secure. You’d have thought the 2000 election would have gotten us to that commitment, but you see that people who are in a position where they might lose power if voting gets easy, are going to continue to try to make it difficult and will resist passing voter reforms. Increased ease of the election process is bad for a party that is losing favor with that population. I hope these two terrible examples convince people that we have to create a system we all have faith and makes it so the loser in each election can say, ah, fair election. Transparent process. I accept, I concede and God bless America.

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