Sunday, November 27, 2016

UPDATE Green Party Recount Update: Lawyers, Activists, Organizers Get Going in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania

The Green Party filed for a 2016 presidential recount in Wisconsin on Friday, after the party's nominee Jill Stein raised more than $5 million from grassroots donations as of midday. The Greens are also planning to file in Pennsylvania and Michigan early next week.
Wisconsin election adminstrator Michael Haas said the Greens met the state's deadline, adding that it will now calculate the precise fee estimated at $1.1 million. Rocky Roque De La Fuente, the Reform and American Delta Party nominee, also filed ror a recount.
“We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice,” Haas said. “We plan to hold a teleconference meeting for county clerks next week and anticipate the recount will begin late in the week after the Stein campaign has paid the recount fee, which we are still calculating.”
John Bonifaz, a voting rights attorney who helped organize the 2016 recount and was lead counsel for the Green and Libertarian Parties’ 2004 presidential recount in Ohio, said the Green's Wisconsin recount petition justified why it was needed.
“We’ll point to the fact that there are certain [electronic voting] systems in the state of Wisconsin that are being used, which have been proven to be vulnerable to being tampered with or being hacked. And the state of California banned the use of those systems, but Wisconsin, with some restrictions, still uses them,” he said. “So that’s point one. Given the fact that those systems are still in use, it’s important too make sure that we verify the vote.”

“The other systems, the paper ballot systems, we’ve determined, are, in fact, showing a discrepancy between the jurisdictions where the paper ballots have been used and the touch-screen machines have been used,” he continued, referring to different margin of victory depending on the voting technology. “That discrepancy has given rise further to the point of verifying the vote. There are different theories as to why that discrepancy exists. One can argue the demographics in the jurisdictions with the touch screen machines point to why there is that discrepancy. But until we actually verify the vote we won’t know the answers to this.”
The recount was far more intricate process than the state audits routinely conducted after every election, Haas said. His statement signaling the involvement of the state's Department of Justice suggested there are likely to be court fights over the process of how ballots are to be recounted, by machine or hand, and the timetable for doing so.
"A recount is different than an audit and is more rigorous," Haas' said. "More than 100 reporting units across the state were randomly selected for a separate audit of their voting equipmnt as required by state law, and that process has already begun. Electronic voting equipment audits determine whether all properly-marked ballots are accurately tabulated by the equipment. In a recount, all ballots (including those that were originally hand counted) are examined to determine voter intent before being retabulated. In addition, the county boards of canvassers will examine other documents, including poll lists, written absentee applications, rejected absentee ballots, and provisional ballots before counting the votes."
The Greens were busy Friday preparing for the recount filing. The legal process is being handed over to a New York City election law firm. Organizers held a press event in Milwaukee and then went to the capital, Madison, to file with the Wisconsin Elections Commission. A WEC staffer reached early Friday said with nearly 3 million ballots, the recount would take several weeks. It must be completed by December 13 under federal law.
The process and organizing in Pennsylvania could not be more different. In Pennsylvania, citizens can submit petitions to each county board of elections to recount their precincts up to five days after the official canvas, or countywide count, is completed. There is a big grassroots effort underway to do that, despite mainstream media reports which incorrectly said the filing window has ended for the 2016 election. That deadline is for parties filing with the state, not for citizens filing with local election boards.

“Based on the law as we read it, all counties must complete their canvass. Voters then have the right to file for five days afterward,” said Aquene Fairchild, who is working with a team of 120 volunteers to collect and coordinate petitions to be delivered to local boards of election. “We will start filing today, but many offices are closed until Monday.”

Story continues here 

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