&#91EDITORIALS&#93Recount served a purpose

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[EDITORIALS]Recount served a purpose

No meaningful discrepancies were uncovered in the recount of some of the ballots cast in the December presidential election. It is fortunate that the recount yesterday will put away once and for all any doubts that may have existed about the outcome of the election. It also reinforced the credibility of electronic ballot counting, establishing its use in the future, which will enable swift and accurate counting of ballots.

This was the fourth election where electronic counting was used. It was used nation-wide in the June local government elections, when no significant discrepancies were discovered. Not many people thought that it would be different this time. That was the sentiment even in the Grand National Party, which called for the recount, until there were rumors of GNP ballots found in bundles of counted Millennium Democratic Party ballots. There were also unconfirmed reports that online hackers were able to influence the count. So it led to an unprecedented recount of presidential election ballots.

When looking only at the results of the recount, the GNP could well be the butt of jokes; here is a party that refused to concede defeat and it is reliving the defeat, some will say. But there are circumstances that made the demand for a recount reasonable. It would have been difficult for any party that lost by just a 570,000-vote margin to go away when given allegations of irregularities. Some minor errors surfaced at the time of the original count, so it was reasonable to call for a recount if only to confirm the accuracy of the electronic process. The debilitating Internet malfunction over the weekend was also enough to fuel suspicion that not all things electronic can be foolproof.

The recount also was an important lesson about suspicion in our national affairs. The smallest and most unlikely doubt can fuel national distrust and conflict. Suspicion breeds suspicion, and can lead to unexpected consequence. That is an important lesson for the government in introducing policies and administering them. It is a lesson that political parties will do well to remember if they are to become more mature.
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