Electronic Voting Machines Alleged Irregularities Lead to Recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania
The 2016 Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein launched a campaign on Nov. 22, 2016 to initiate recounts in battleground states Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. She stated that the recount campaign was “a multi-partisan effort to check the accuracy of the machine-counted vote tallies in these states in order to ensure the integrity of our elections.” Stein is especially concerned with potential hacking efforts because the voting machines used are allegedly especially vulnerable to security attacks. Ajamu Baraka, Stein”s running mate, stated, “I am not in favor of the recount” because “it was a potentially dangerous move” that could “be seen as carrying the water for the Democrats.”
Concern about the security of voting machines is not new but was compounded in the 2016 election by hacks into the Democratic National Convention and leaks of over 40,000 emails by WikiLeaks. Admiral Michael Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency, and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, stated the hacks were carried out by Russians. Further, there is evidence of an attempt to hack voter databases in Arizona and Illinois by hackers with Russian IP addresses.
The Clinton campaign had been encouraged to file for recounts by computer scientists and election lawyers who found that Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes in Wisconsin (she lost the state by 27,000 votes) because she received 7% fewer votes in districts that use electronic voting machines, compared to those using optical scanners and paper ballots. The Clinton campaign joined Stein’s efforts on Nov. 26, 2016 after it was announced that Wisconsin would recount their votes on Nov. 25. Hillary Clinton’s counsel, Marc Elias stated that the campaign had had no plans to initiate a recount themselves because “we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology.”
President-Elect Donald Trump stated: “This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount. This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.”
Wisconsin requires $1.1 million to initiate a recount. The Stein campaign met the cost and the Nov. 25 deadline, and the state expects the recount to begin this week and cost a total of $3.5 million. But election officials stated on Nov. 25 that they had found no evidence of hacking and refused to perform the recount by hand as Stein requested. In response, Stein filed a lawsuit on Nov. 29 to try to force a recount by hand instead of by machines. A judge ruled against Stein on Nov. 30, stating there was no legal reason to require a hand recount.
Pennsylvania requires $500,000 by Nov. 28 to perform a recount. Stein missed the deadline for a voter-initiated recount (Nov. 21), but has filed a lawsuit to try to require that Pennsylvania recount the votes. A hearing is set for Dec. 5.
Michigan requires $600,000 by Nov. 30 to initiate the recount. Stein requested the recount on Nov. 30 and will pay at least $973,250 for the Michigan recount, but the Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, says the effort could cost as much as $2 million. The recount is expected to begin as soon as Dec. 4.
Stein’s campaign states that the total cost is likely to be $6-7 million dollars after filing fees, attorney fees, and other costs.
Recounts in the three states will only change the outcome of the election if enough of the votes were miscounted that Clinton wins all three states’ electoral votes (a total of 46), a possibility experts are calling slim, especially considering Michigan was awarded to Trump on Nov. 28, 2016.
CBS News, “Jill Stein’s Pennsylvania Recount Efforts, What You Need to Know,” cbsnews.com, Nov. 28, 2016
Andrew Clark, “Ouch – Jill Stein’s Scam Recount in Wisconsin Is off to a Pretty Bad Start,” ijr.com, Nov. 29, 2016
Andrew Clark, “A Wisconsin Judge Just Poured Cold Water All over Jill Stein’s Recount,” ijr.com, Nov. 30, 2016.
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J. Alex Halderman, “Want to Know If the Election Was Hacked? Look at the Ballots,” medium.com. Nov. 23, 2016
Tom LoBianco, “Green Party Files for Wisconsin Recount, Audit,” cnn.com, Nov. 25, 2016
Brian Manzullo, “Jill Stein Explains Rationale of Michigan Presidential Recount Request,” frrep.com, Dec. 1, 2016
Anna Orso and Mark Dent, “Jill Stein’s Pennsylvania Recount Lawsuit Gets a Hearing,” billpenn.com, Nov. 29, 2016
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Kathzie Pena Yambao, “Election Officials: Voting Machines Not Hacked in Wisconsin,” newsline.com, Nov. 28, 2016
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Gabriel Sherman, “Experts Urge Clinton Campaign to Challenge Election Results in 3 Swing States,” nymag.com, Nov. 22, 2016
Jill Stein for President, “Stein/Baraka Campaign Launches Recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania to Restore Confidence in our Voting System,” jill2016.com, Nov. 22, 2016
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Jessica Taylor, “Trump Officially Wins Michigan as Possible Recount Looms,” npr.org, Nov. 28, 2016
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Eli Watkins, “Jill Stein Running Mate: ‘I’m Not in Favor of the Recount,'” cnn.com, Nov. 29, 2016
Philip Wegman, “Pennsylvania State Department Says Stein Missed Recount Deadline,” washingtonexaminer.com, Nov. 28, 2016
Robert Windrem, William K. Arkin, and Ken Dilanian, “Russians Hacked Two U.S. Voter Databases, Officials Say,” nbcnews.com, Aug. 30, 2016