Tuesday, November 29, 2016

#Recount2016: The latest *Updates below

A technician prepares voting machines to be used in the presidential election 
in Philadelphia. Courtesy AP/Philly.com

Pennsylvania will have to be sued in order to recount their votes, and the situation is something more than a little complicated.

“Petitioners have grave concerns about the integrity of electronic voting machines used in their districts,” the suit stated.

Though Monday’s petition was filed by 100 Pennsylvania voters, as required by the state’s election law, it is part of Stein’s effort to challenge results in three states that were critical to deciding the presidential election.

Stein’s camp filed a recount petition last week in Wisconsin, and is expected to do so this week Michigan. Clinton lost each of the state by fewer than 100,000 votes. She lost Pennsylvania by about 71,300 votes.


(Pennsylvania), where Mr. Trump holds a lead of 70,638 votes, or 1.1 percent, allows any three voters to petition to recount their local precinct. But despite a call on Sunday from Ms. Stein on Facebook for thousands of Pennsylvanians to file the paperwork, in many cases the deadlines have come and gone, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

There are more than 9,000 voting precincts in Pennsylvania. Wanda Murren, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said she was aware of petitions in only a handful of the state’s 67 counties.

The Stein campaign said that as of Monday, voters had filed recount petitions in 120 precincts, including more than 70 in Philadelphia, where the county has not yet certified the vote and petitions can still be accepted, according to Ilann Maazel, a lawyer for the campaign.

The Wolverine State seems a little cleaner ...

In Michigan, a candidate can request a recount by citing fraud or errors, said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the Michigan secretary of state. But other candidates, like Mr. Trump, could potentially object to such a request by appealing to the Board of State Canvassers.

At a meeting on Monday, where the canvassers certified the election results, a representative for Ms. Stein said her campaign planned to request a complete hand recount by a deadline on Wednesday. The campaign would need to pay estimated costs of $800,000, and a recount could start as early as Friday.

... and the Badger State proceeds apace.

To begin the recount in Wisconsin, the state must receive payment of $3.5 million by Tuesday afternoon to cover the estimated costs, the Wisconsin Elections Commission said on Monday. The commission approved a schedule, which includes county clerks and canvass members being briefed on procedures on Wednesday morning, with the recount beginning Thursday and being completed by Dec. 12 and certified on Dec. 13. The Electoral College votes on Dec. 19.

Ms. Stein asked that the recount of ballots be done entirely by hand, but the elections commission rejected that request. It instead allowed counties to determine whether the ballots should be counted manually or with tabulating equipment. Ms. Stein said on Monday that she would sue to demand the hand count.

Rather then mention Trump's false and inflammatory Tweet, which as usual got more media attention that it deserved -- though thankfully most called it what it is: a lie -- let me point out that the recount effort has produced its own divisions in the Green Party, starting with this statement by Stein's running mate, Ajamu Baraka.

I believe that Dr. Stein sincerely believed that she had an obligation, grounded in her commitment to the principle of election integrity, to mount a challenge to the results in those three states. And while I don’t share that position for reasons that I am not going to try and elaborate on here on Facebook, the notion that her decision was made for any other reason than that is a position that I cannot support. There are many in and outside of the Green Party who support the campaign’s decision to call for a recount. But there are also many Green Party activists and supporters who are opposed to that decision.

It is unfortunate that after waging a courageous campaign to build an independent, principled political opposition to the two racist, capitalist/imperialist parties, the recount effort has resulted in serious questions regarding the motivations of the recount that threatens to damage the standing and reputation of the Green party, its supporters, and activists.

A statement released by several long-time Greens also objected to the recount.  A portion:

There are significant electoral reforms needed to make elections more democratic and more representative of the people. While we support electoral reforms, including how the vote is counted, we do not support the current recount being undertaken by Jill Stein.

The decision to pursue a recount was not made in a democratic or a strategic way, nor did it respect the established decision making processes and structures of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS).  The recount has created confusion about the relationship between the Green and Democratic parties because the states chosen for the recount are only states in which Hillary Clinton lost. There were close races in other states such as New Hampshire and Minnesota where Clinton won, but which were not part of the recount. And this recount does not address the disenfranchisement of voters; it recounts votes that were already counted rather than restoring the suffrage of voters who were prevented from voting.

As a candidate, Dr. Stein has the right to call for a recount. However, we urge the GPUS to distance itself from any appearance of support for either Democrats or Republicans. We are well aware of the undemocratic actions taken during the primaries by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Greens cannot be perceived to be allied with such a party.

Signatories included Chris Hedges, Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Rosa Clemente, and even Stein's field director for her 2016 campaign, Adrian Boutureira Sansberro.

So to be clear, Stein (and David Cobb, her campaign manager and 2004 presidential nominee, along with other GP leaders like Ben Manski) took the initiative -- in defiance of a GPUS steering committee vote that went against them -- to pursue the recount, beginning with its stunningly successful fundraising appeal.  What all this means for Green unity going forward is an open question, particularly if Stein pursues elective office again, and a story likely to be reported almost exclusively in this space.

More from Brad Friedman's podcast yesterday and his interview with Richard Hayes Phillips, an author and election fraud investigator of long-standing repute.  Here's an excerpt:

... (Hayes Phillips' detailed report concerns) the unusually large apparent voter turnout numbers in many rural WI municipalities and the difficulty citizens have in verifying and overseeing those numbers. As Phillips explains, there are horrible public reporting requirements for both results and for same-day voter registration provisions in the state.

"At a minimum, the problem is a lack of transparency ... We have no way of knowing how many registered voters there are [in WI]. If you don't know how many registered voters there are, you don't know if too many ballots were cast." His report finds that, based on the latest state-reported voter registration numbers, there were "193 towns with turnout of 90% or better, 25 towns with turnout of 95% or better, and 7 towns with turnout of 100% or better." Those exceedingly high turnout numbers are likely lower in reality, due to same-day registration in WI, but the lack of reporting requirements for those numbers is "unacceptable".

"This is the period of time during which we must analyze those numbers to decide whether or not to challenge the election, and we don't have reliable numbers to use!" Philips, who personally examined tens of thousands of ballots and poll books and much more in Ohio after the disputed 2004 election there, resulting in his book Witness to a Crime: A Citizens' Audit of an American Election, says WI's turnout numbers remind him of a number of counties where he found fraud in Ohio, where there was some 80% turnout reported.

(Hayes Phillips observes) that there are almost no ballots to actually count in PA. "The five biggest cities in Pennsylvania that have no paper record of anybody's vote, except for absentee ballots, which only amount to 1 or 2% of the ballots," he says. "My God, if Wisconsin and Michigan which are very close were to actually flip and fall to Hillary Clinton's column, we will face a constitutional crisis, because this whole election will come down to Pennsylvania and the vote cannot be verified. I want America to know this."

Also hearkening back to Ohio in 2004, Phillips notes that there are tens of thousands of ballots with no vote at all for President in MI --- even near Detroit --- according to the state's unverified optical-scan tabulators. It's impossible to know how people voted, unless paper ballots are actually counted by human beings, he confirms. "Who knows who these ballots are actually marked for?"

"I'm not a shill for Hillary Clinton. I didn't even vote for her. But I want everyone's vote to count," he argues. "I want the winner to win and the loser to lose."

I'm not a purist, and I have no interest in seeing Hillary Clinton prevail, and I don't think she will.  Simply put, the integrity of our elections must be able to withstand scrutiny, or the United States is just another banana republic.  Or Christian caliphate, if you prefer.

Update (11/30): More from Bradblog.  And Rocky de La Fuente has paid for a small sample recount in Nevada.  If that sampling shows some inaccuracies, then the state will order a full recount.  And here's a more recent interview with Bonifaz detailing the mechanics of the recount.


Gadfly said...

There's other backstory on Stein vs. the party executive which you may want to read, from Counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/28/the-stein-campaign-and-the-fight-for-green-party-independence/

PDiddie said...

I've embedded your link in the relevant paragraph where I mentioned the GPUS SC vote, and made some other minor edits such as correcting the word 'executive' with 'steering', and adding Ben Manski's name.

To my POV there's a great deal of internal strife that pits the old school purists against Stein, Cobb, Manski, et.al. that seems to have been avoidable under the consideration that the candidate alone has a right, and perhaps even an obligation, to file for a recount. Neither party -- within the party, that is -- can be said to be specifically wrong or mistaken in their respective view.

The recount won't change the result (he said with the same confidence that he predicted Hillary Clinton would be the president before November 8).