Recap of What took place at during the recount for the

November 8, 2016 Election.
(Return to main website)

Content as of 1-20-2017:

1) Reasons for Recount;

2) Before Recount, additional indicators of possible vote count manipulations;

3) After Recount Started, interference and other factors diminishing recount;

4) Attorney/Professor Bob Fitrakis detailed report of recap (The real story behind the recount) plus investigative journalist Greg Palast report of recount.

5) Jill Stein’s recap of recount effort
6) Lori Grace's of 1/20/17 recap of Recount plus the future of Election Integrity

7) Links to 2 videos from Democracy Now about recount


Reasons for Recount:

In the Presidential Election of November 8, 2016,

5 Swing States, that would have made a difference in the Electoral College outcome, showed statistical anomalies in the vote count that Election Integrity experts say indicate a high probability of vote count manipulation.

Those 5 states are: North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida.


As a first pass in flagging states with suspicious outcomes, 3 states had deviations from the Exit Polls beyond the statistical Margin-of-Error in favor of Trump:


Exit Polls are captured via downloads by a number of web sites just as polls close on November 8th and shortly before the Networks like CNN force the Exit Polls to conform to the reported vote count after polls close. The vote count in making the statistical comparison is taken from November 17, 2016, when at least 99% of the official vote count is completed, by TDMSresearch.


North Carolina showed the greatest discrepancy in favor of Trump of 5.9%

Pennsylvania showed a discrepancy of 5.5% in favor of Trump

Wisconsin showed a discrepancy of 4.9% in favor of Trump

The above 3 swing states are enough to change the electoral vote outcome to Clinton 277 vs Trump 245. It takes 270 electoral votes to win the electoral college vote.


Florida showed a discrepancy of 2.6%, which is .4% shy of exceeding the statistical Margin-of-Error so it was not challenged in the recount.


North Carolina could not be made to require a recount by Jill Stein, because of North Carolina’s restrictive rules that did not allow her to be on the ballot in that State, except as a write-in. To have standing for a recount, without a special court challenge, requires the candidate to be on the ballot.


Michigan was chosen for recount due to the closeness of the vote count and other indicators listed below.


As a measure of the validity of the Exit Polls as a first pass indicator of possible vote count manipulation, the United States in co-operation with Ukraine, Serbia and Georgia used these discrepancies to overturn election results.


The validity of Exit Polling sampling techniques during the November 8, 2016 election, in large measure is demonstrated by the results for California with 0.0% discrepancy between Exit Poll and Vote Count and Texas with 0.3% discrepancy between Exit Poll and Vote Count. These are the 2 largest voting count states and democratically diverse States.


Before Recount, additional indicators of possible vote count manipulations:


Academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000. “Wisconsin: Another statistical analysis, done by Stanford PhD candidate Rodolfo Barragan and Axel Geijsel of Tilburg University, finds that even when taking into account factors like ethnicity and education, there is significant evidence that counties with electronic voting showed higher support for Trump than counties using only paper ballots.”


Trump lost 30,000 votes in Pennsylvania during the vote certification period even before the Pennsylvania recount has begun. Clinton losing votes in this way indicates that there may have been electronic fraud. Pennsylvania is a "sitting duck" for electronic fraud because they have many voting machines with no paper trails.


Wisconsin: Three counties saw large discrepancies in votes between 2012 and 2016, with the margin of victory for Donald Trump in some cases being ten-fold higher than the GOP’s average in the last four presidential elections.

“Michigan: More than 75,000 Michiganders cast no vote for president in the 2016 election—almost twice as many 'under-votes' than were cast in the 2012 election (49,840). The high number is a red flag, especially when considering that these 'under-votes' were concentrated in the heavily Democratic precincts of Detroit.”

“In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, approximately two-thirds and one-tenth of voting, respectively, is done through touchscreen machines (DREs) that are susceptible to manipulation and hacking (and which many states have banned or are phasing out),” their summary said. “In Pennsylvania, whose voting system has been called a 'nightmare scenario' by one leading expert, the machines do not even dispense a paper ballot or receipt. As a result, the only way to conduct a full, foolproof audit is through a 'forensic analysis' —opening each machine to look for evidence of tampering or voter manipulation.”

“Optical scan voting—the method for all voting in Michigan, 85 percent in Wisconsin and one-third in Pennsylvania—is considered an improvement over DREs, but can still be breached without detection,” they continued. “The machines suffer from glitches and are prone to mistakes, including misreading voters’ markings. For example, in a recount of Ohio votes initiated by then Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb in 2004, almost 90,000 votes were left uncounted due to a machine calibration error. As such, manual hand recounts—as opposed to simply running ballots back through the machine—are essential, and considered the gold standard of recounts by election integrity experts.”

Above quoted paragraphs from Alternet article


After Recount Started, interference and other factors diminishing recount:


Wisconsin: 19 counties will not let recount team look at ballots.


Dane County is wanting only to do machine counts, for example, and Door County does not want to have observers. There are other counties as well that are still resisting hand counts. We are going to have the press report on these counties to try to make them comply. 


From: John Bonifaz, attorney, political activist, specializing in constitutional law and voting rights on Democracy Now 12-8-16


“The Trump campaign (via two Trump SuperPacs) or Republican Party has showed up in every single one of these states to stop these recounts. …” “The Michigan attorney general and the Republican Party were the ones who pushed for the stopping of the recount in Michigan. The Wisconsin Republican Party has pushed to stop it in Wisconsin. And in Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign and Republican Party are showing up in federal court tomorrow to try to stop this case from going forward….”

JOHN BONIFAZ: Yes, but it’s very important to note here that while some counties have agreed to hand-count the ballots, other counties are not. They’re feeding the ballots through the very same machines that gave us the tallies on election night. Ron Rivest, a leading computer scientist from MIT, says that’s like going to the same doctor for a second opinion. It makes absolutely no sense to feed those same ballots through the machines and tell us that they’re recounting the votes. What we needed in Wisconsin was a full statewide recount of all the ballots, hand-counted. And there are other systems in the state of Wisconsin, unlike in Michigan, that don’t have any paper ballots. They’re electronic voting systems. And they also exist in Pennsylvania. And these systems have been proven to be hackable and vulnerable for our overall integrity of our process.

JOHN BONIFAZ: …He’s absolutely right that we need to be concerned about this, which is why, tomorrow in Pennsylvania in federal court, Stein’s attorneys are going before a judge to make the case why voting machines should be examined. These election laws have been written long before these voting machines appeared on the scene. These voting machines appeared after the Florida 2000 election debacle. Private voting machine companies sold these systems to states throughout the country. And now they’ve been banned in many states. California did a top-to-bottom review of electronic voting systems and other voting systems and determined that these particular systems, voting machines where you touch on the screen your choices for president or any other office, that they in fact are vulnerable to be hacking, unreliable, untrustworthy and should be banned altogether in the state of California. Yet Pennsylvania still uses them for most of their counties. Wisconsin uses them, as well, for some of their counties. And he’s absolutely right that what we need when we engage in a recount is an examination of those machines. So far, that has not been granted. But that’s exactly why there’s a federal court hearing tomorrow on this.




The Real Story of the Recount

by  Bob Fitrakis  JANUARY 4, 2017



Jill Stein’s multi-state presidential recount was unprecedented. The idea originated from a group of computer scientists represented by attorney John Bonifaz, who after analyzing the U.S. computerized voting system found it to be vulnerable to hacking and manipulation. Social scientists and statisticians deemed some of the 2016 election results to be improbable. Election integrity volunteers and attorneys stepped up to help sort it out.


Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate, agreed to ask for recounts in three states: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The donation page went online the afternoon before Thanksgiving. The recount was quickly financed in a few weeks by 150,000 small donors at the grassroots level across the political spectrum.


But if you were watching Fox News or reading Facebook during the recount you would think Stein, with a suspicious and nefarious agenda, was at best working undercover for the Clinton campaign or at worst, involved in a political payola campaign scam to enrich herself.

In reality, she was using the U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency on International Development (USAID) standards of election integrity that every democratic country on the planet is held to – except the United States.

That standard is simple: If there is a significant mismatch between exit poll numbers and official vote totals, it is assumed something is amiss. In the case of this November’s presidential election, 13 states had exit poll-vote total mismatches that raised red flags with discrepancies that were far outside the margin of error. Twelve went for Trump and one for Clinton.


In the Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida exit polls, Clinton was ahead but Trump won the official vote count. In fact, in 24 out of 28 states there was a shift to Trump. This wouldn’t happen except once in every 52,440 presidential elections. Statisticians predict that this should be more evenly divided between the two candidates. All three states chosen for the recount admitted errors in their official vote counts, all in Trump’s favor.


Stein raised $7.3 million for the recount, all funds being segregated in a special bank account overseen by the Federal Elections Commission to be spent only on the recount. Her costs are estimated to be $7.4 million.

Bonifaz and the computer scientist group also approached Clinton to challenge the suspicious election results, but she declined to act.


Trump campaign super PACs and state officials did everything they could to block an actual valid recount. Bruce Dixon, writing for Black Agenda Report, summed it up best: “U.S. elections are intentionally and fundamentally broken and rigged, recount-proof and audit-proof; . . . state and federal courts are willing to issue patently absurd rulings from the bench to keep it that way.”


On Wisconsin

Why recount Wisconsin? Exit poll numbers showed Hillary Clinton with 48.2 percent to Donald Trump’s 44.3 percent in Wisconsin. These numbers did not match the vote totals: Trump - 47.9, Clinton - 46.9. Given the difference between the exit poll numbers of 44.3 and Trump receiving 47.9 percent of the vote, the likelihood of this occurring is only once in every 856 elections.


Wisconsin’s governor is the controversial Republican Scott Walker. Former Trump campaign consultant Roger Stone stated, “As someone with great sentimental attachment to the Republican Party, as I joined as the party of Goldwater, both parties have engaged in voting machine manipulation. Nowhere in the country has this been more true than Wisconsin, where there are strong indications that Scott Walker and the Reince Priebus machine rigged as many as five elections including the defeat of a Walker recall election.


Mathematician and voting statistic expert Richard Charnin has produced a compelling study by comparing polling to actual results and exit polls to make a compelling case for voting machine manipulation in the Badger state.”

Wisconsin voting conditions: Wisconsin voted approximately five percent on paper ballots, 10 percent on Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) computer voting machines, and 85 percent on paper Scantron ballots.


The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) administers all of the state’s elections. Wisconsin is one of the few states to have same-day voter registration. Under Wisconsin law, voting machine vendors are required to put their secret source code used to program their machines and tabulators into escrow. There is no evidence this was done, dating back to 2005.

Chief WEC administrator Michael Haas offered shocking testimony confirming that some of Wisconsin’s voting machines can connect to the internet: “Some of the newer equipment does have modems that operate using wireless internet. And so after the polls close, then when those unofficial results are transmitted, in some cases, they could be transmitted. The instantaneous transaction would be conducted over the internet.”


Election integrity activist John Brakey who was on the ground in Wisconsin confirmed the use of modems and SIM cards in ES&S Optiscan voting machines. ES&S never tried to hide this and included it in their marketing materials for the DS200 model. .

Stein’s attorneys also found that “Wisconsin has no rules requiring private vendors to protect their computers from cyberattacks.” Also, “No national cybersecurity standards for these computers exist,” they wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Curiously, Haas admitted that USB drives from private vendors who are contracted to run the elections are allowed to be “inserted into the voting machine before the election.” This makes the voting machines easily vulnerable to malware attacks.


What happened in the recount: The Stein campaign was forced to pay $3.5 million to conduct the recount. Wisconsin “recounted” the vote in all 72 counties. Approximately 51 percent of the state’s vote was counted by hand, but 49 percent were counted by running the ballots through the same machines that may have miscounted them on election night. In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin’s largest and most racially and ethnically diverse county, there was no hand count.


Election observers watched the hand recount and had the opportunity to object if they saw any irregularities, but where there was no hand count, they simply observed ballots running through machines.


The Stein campaign sued the WEC to force a hand recount. Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn found that there was no clear and convincing evidence of fraud, hence she interpreted the law to allow counties to conduct a machine recount if they chose. She conceded that a hand-counted recount was clearly preferable but there was no legal basis to force counties to conduct a hand recount.

Two pro-Trump super PACs – the Great America PAC and Stop Hillary PAC – filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to stop the recount, but Federal Judge James Petersen refused.


On election night, Trump led by 27,000 votes. Trump’s victory was eventually certified in Wisconsin leading by 22,000 votes.

As we go to press, the Stein litigation team is still trying to obtain the source code used to program the voting machines in Wisconsin


My Michigan

Why recount Michigan: The Stein campaign paid $973,250 for the Michigan recount. Michigan was a toss-up state with both Trump and Clinton having 46.8 percent of the exit polls. Trump ended up with 10,704 more votes than Clinton. But, there was a major problem with “undervotes.” This made the state an ideal recount target. On 75,335 ballots in the presidential election, constituting 1.5 percent of all Michigan votes, there was no vote for president.

Michigan’s voting conditions: Michigan voters cast paper Scantron ballots counted by machines. The state emergency manager had denied Detroit’s request to spend money on newer voting machines. All of Michigan’s vote tabulators are at least a decade old, according to the Associated Press. This is the same emergency management law that forced Flint residents to drink from a lead poisoned river to save money.


What happened in the recount: The recount effort revealed serious operating problems with Michigan’s voting machines. In Detroit, at least 87 voting machines malfunctioned on Election Day, according to city election officials. Numerous precincts in Detroit also lost their pollbooks – the only record of how many people signed in to vote. Other problems included improperly sealed and transported ballot boxes. A Detroit precinct reported to contain 307 ballots could only produce 52.


Nearly a quarter of all ballots in Wayne County were not properly handled resulting in discrepancies between the number of ballots in the ballot box and the total ballots issued. Detroit election officials also reported finding numerous broken security seals on the bags containing ballots and voting material. Under a 1954 law, 610 of the county’s precincts could not be counted because of the discrepancy between the pollbooks and number of ballots issued and counted, 392 of them in Detroit. As a result of mismatched numbers and broken security seals, 59 percent of Detroit precincts could not be recounted.


Approximately 11 percent of all the precincts counted statewide showed documented irregularities. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Lynch, Stein’s attorney Jonathan Abady pointed out that the number was much higher in low-income counties like Branch where 27 percent of the precincts showed irregularities.


There was an all-out Republican blitz to stop the recount from happening, including legal action. State and federal courts blocked Stein’s recount with two-thirds of the vote uncounted. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette led the charge to shut it down. At the time of Schuette’s actions, the recount was revealing irregularities.


Federal Judge Mark Goldsmith initially allowed the recount to go forward but then reversed himself after Schuette and Michigan courts, including the state Supreme Court, ruled in favor of stopping it. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by a 3-2 vote with two recusals. Chief Justice Robert Young and Justice Joan Larsen recused themselves because they were on President-elect Trump’s short list to be elected to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Before Judge Goldsmith halted the recount, 2725 of Michigan’s 7786 precincts, roughly a third, were recounted. In the Stein recount, more than 1600 votes were discovered and recorded that had not been counted the first time.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has, however, announced plans to audit 20 of Detroit area polling places.


Mighty Pennsylvania

Why recount Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania’s exit polls reported Clinton with 50.5 percent and Trump with 46.1 percent. The election night tally showed Trump leading Clinton by 1.2 percent instead of losing by 4.4 percent. Trump’s 47.6 percent of the Pennsylvania vote would happen once every 260 presidential elections. The state voluntarily removed 27,000 erroneous votes for Trump just prior to the recount, The primary reason Pennsylvania was recounted was to take a close forensic look at the electronic voting machines, since the state is not designed to be recounted.


Pennsylvania’s voting conditions: More than 85 percent of Pennsylvania voters voted on non-verifiable computer machines with no paper to recount. Pennsylvania’s state and county governments had not allocated the funds for auditable machines. Of the voting machines, 30 percent were the notorious ES&S iVotronics, determined to be easily tampered with by Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s famous Everest Study. Additionally, 29 percent of Pennsylvania voted with the even worse Danaher Shouptronic voting machines, one of the earliest machines dating back to the 1980s.


Voters also reported never receiving requested absentee ballots in time to cast them. In Montgomery County an estimated 70,000 people risked being disenfranchised before a judge ordered an extension to absentee voting. Many voters reported issues with the DRE machines inaccurately recording their vote. In Montgomery County, out of nearly 450,000 ballots cast, more than 4000 recorded no vote for President.


Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan computer science professor, testified that the Pennsylvania computer voting machines were vulnerable to hacking by both transferring infected files from one machine to another through ordinary flash drives or by someone physically tampering with computer chips. Halderman told the court that “Putting myself in the role of attacker, with all its vulnerabilities, I would hack Pennsylvania.” Halderman is known for successfully hacking into the Washington DC voting system for a demonstration after District election officials challenged anyone to try hacking in.


What happened in the recount: The recount never successfully happened in Pennsylvania. For a recount to happen, three voters from 9158 precincts, 27,474 people, would have had to submit notarized affidavits and make a combined payment of $457,900 to state election officials. The Stein campaign accused the Pennsylvania Department of State of giving “erroneous guidance” on the requirements for the recount and claimed the county boards engaged in “erratic compliance with shifting and secret deadlines.” In all, “thousands of voters had valid recount petitions wrongfully rejected.”


U.S. District Court Judge Paul Diamond stated that suspicion of a hacked election in the Quaker State “borders on the irrational.” In prohibiting a recount, Diamond held that there was “ credible evidence that any ‘hack’ occurred and compelling evidence that Pennsylvania’s voting system was not in any way compromised.” Diamond’s ruling came after the Washington Post claimed that a secret CIA report found the Russians interfering in the U.S election electronically in order to hurt Clinton an aid Trump.

The Allegheny County Elections Commission and a state common pleas judge rejected Stein’s request to examine the voting machines that lacked a paper trail. Allegheny County is the second most populous county in the state. Common Pleas Senior Judge Joseph M. James, in a classic Catch-22, ruled that since Stein lacked evidence of voting irregularities, she couldn’t examine the electronic voting machines for irregularities.


Jill Stein stated the purpose of the recount: “Despite overwhelming evidence and consensus from cyber-security and computer science experts that our election system is vulnerable to hacking, manipulation, malfunction and human error, the political establishment in Washington has dismissed the need for comprehensive recounts of the 2016 election. Concerns about the security and accuracy of our election system extend into the realm of human and machine error, where there is already evidence before our eyes of widespread machine failure. We must get rid of tamper- and error-prone electronic voting machines and work toward a verifiable paper ballot system, which has long been central to the Green Party’s democracy platform.


Stein campaign manager David Cobb, who led the recounts in Ohio and New Mexico after he ran as the 2004 Green Party presidential candidate said the recount’s purpose is “ensuring confidence in the integrity of the voting system.” He laid out the Green Party’s election reform proposals: “A system where we count every vote, and where every vote counts. Every vote to be cast on a paper ballot. All software must be non-proprietary and open-source. Robust audits. State funded recounts in any election decided by .5 percent or less of all votes cast. And nonpartisan election administration.”


Bob Fitrakis, Ohio Green Party Co-Chair and the Federal Elections Commissioner in Jill Stein’s Shadow Cabinet served as legal counsel for the Jill Stein’s 2016 recount campaign.



And Greg Palast gives a much shorter report of the recount, from his point of view.


Here's Why the GOP Fought So Hard to Stop Rust Belt State Vote Recount

Posted Dec. 28, 2016

Interview with Greg Palast, investigative journalist and author, conducted by Scott Harris


With Donald Trump's presidential election victory defying most pollsters' forecasts, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein's pursuit of a vote recount in the historically Democratic states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were welcome by many in a nation suffering from political shock. Of the three states Wisconsin was the only one to complete a recount, financed by small donors across the U.S who contributed to a fund set up by Stein.


However, Republican legal objections succeeded in blocking the completion of a vote recount in Michigan and prevented a vote recount in Pennsylvania from ever getting started. Although the recount in Wisconsin didn't change that state's results, Stein said the process she initiated revealed deep flaws in states' systems for administering voting and verifying results. She cited election irregularities in Michigan, including more than 75,000 uncounted ballots as evidence of the need to re-examine that state's election outcome ? and the urgent need for reform of state laws that make verification of voting results more difficult.


Greg Palast is an investigative reporter and award-winning author who uncovered the Republican voter purge in Florida that led to what many charge was a stolen election in 2000 that put George W. Bush in the White House. In his new documentary film titled, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits," Palast investigates a multi-state system known as Crosscheck, that he says was employed to wrongly purge some 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls of GOP–controlled states. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Palast, who reports on the results of his most recent investigation into the Green Party-initiated recounts in the three Rust Belt states and the Republican Party effort to stop them.[Rush transcript.]


GREG PALAST: I think that the recount was sabotaged in Wisconsin, sabotaged and stopped in Michigan [and] halted in Pennsylvania because they knew what would happen if you actually counted all the votes. And this is the dark secret of American democracy. We don't count all the votes. There are officially – this is not Greg Palast finger-in-the-wind type stuff. We have an agency called the Elections Assistance Commission, which tracks the number of votes and the number of NO VOTES – the number of ballots which are never counted. They call it "spoiled" and the problem is that if you're black, the chance your vote will spoil for a technical reason is 900 percent higher than if you're white. And we saw that happen in Michigan, in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona and Florida. That's quite a bit.


All of those Trump so-called victories and margins there may not be victories if you pulled ballots out of the electoral Dumpster and counted them. We don't count all the ballots in America. No nation can count all ballots; there's always some that are spoiled and legitimately destroyed and unreadable. But in America, it's in the millions and it is deliberately biased against voters of color. That is our nasty secret.


Jill Stein told me, that she – when I met up with her in Detroit – she said she expected to find Russian hackers, and stuff that like that may have bent the vote. She said, and this is a quote from her, "What I found instead was a Jim Crow election. Black votes uncounted that made the difference." So that's why they had to stop her from counting those votes.


BETWEEN THE LINES: Greg, how typical is it that you'd have 75,000-plus votes in Flint and Detroit, as you describe, that went uncounted if you go back to presidential election years like 2012, 2008 and so on?


GREG PALAST: Just in Florida, 2000, 181,000 ballots were rejected as uncountable for hanging chads and similar reasons. A hundred and eighty-one thousand ballots. So 75,000 ballots in Michigan – that's not unusual. And where are those ballots not counted? Generally, they're not counted in black areas as the U.S. Civil Rights Commission found in both its nationwide and state studies. Why in Detroit and Flint? Well, remember Detroit and Flint are bankrupt cities. They were taken over by the Republican governor who appointed what he called emergency managers who then slashed the budgets of these cities. First, they slashed the budget for the water supply of Flint. And infamously, they've poisoned the children of Flint. When you're talking about people, to save a few bucks, who have no problem poisoning children – the idea that they would poison the election machinery is nothing. What they did was something simple. The black officials begged the state to let them spend the money to get new voting machines because their old voting machines, their ancient voting machines, just didn't work. They were broken.


And in fact, on Election Day, 87 machines broke down in Detroit. Eighty-seven. Each of those machines is supposed to tabulate thousands of votes. What happened to those votes?


BETWEEN THE LINES: What are the dangers you see in the Trump administration as it takes power with its chosen attorney general Jeff Sessions with a horrendous record of racist statements and prejudicial actions as a senator and the appointment of a Supreme Court justice or justices that may fall to Trump, as well as federal judges that he'll have, from what I've heard, an estimated 100 of who he'll get to choose?


GREG PALAST: Yeah, two things immediately. Number one, Jeff Sessions says we're going to eliminate the Voting Rights Act. Trump could not have been elected if it wasn't for the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. But, it's still hanging in there. The Voting Rights Act. That is going to be removed utterly. And if they can't remove it utterly, though I think that they will, they simply won't enforce it, because right now, you've got the mob. You've got the vote-heist mafia running the FBI, literally, is running the civil rights enforcement of the Justice Department, which will now become an injustice department. It's true that Obama basically was frozen in place and his Justice Department was pretty much useless throughout his eight years. One thing is the jalopy not moving; the other thing is for it to race in reverse at high speed. We're going to be back in 1955 when it comes to voting, I'm telling you that right now. We're going to be coming back to that same situation where we're going to be for black people, and now the new black people known as students and Asian Americans are going to have a heck of a time trying to vote. Students, Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos – look out in those GOP-controlled states. We're going back to the '50s.


Greg Palast's new documentary film is titled, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits." Visit his website at



From Jill Stein’s recap of recount effort:




While we were able to beat back efforts by Trump and the GOP to stop the recount, the refusal by some of the largest and most important counties in the state to conduct a hand recount, undermined the ability to get an accurate recount. In fact, Milwaukee County, the largest and the most socio-economically, racially and ethnically diverse county in the state, declined a hand recount, and given the discoveries in Michigan, it is imperative to examine if voters in that county encountered machine errors, manipulations and voter issues on Election Day.

“As this process comes to a close, we must remember that it was still met with attempt after attempt to destroy the recount: a baseless FEC complaint by the Wisconsin Republican Party; a frivolous suit filed by a Trump super PAC whose argument the judge called ‘dead on arrival’; and a last-minute $2.4 million increase in recount cost which was either a disturbing tactic to deter a recount or showed the state’s unpreparedness in conducting one – neither reflect well on the state’s handling of our invaluable electoral system. And while the obstructionist efforts of Trump and his allies failed in the Wisconsin recount, the state has barriers already in place that threaten the constitutional rights of Wisconsin voters, including having some of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the country.




Philadelphia, PA – The Stein campaign today said it was disappointed in a federal court ruling Monday morning blocking a hand recount and forensic audit of Pennsylvania’s error-prone electronic voting machines, effectively disenfranchising millions of Pennsylvanian voters, especially communities of color. The decision by U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond follows a lawsuit filed by the Stein campaign that read: “[The state’s] incomprehensible, labyrinth, and impossibly burdensome election regime is a disaster for ordinary voters. Were Pennsylvania votes counted accurately? That truth is not difficult to learn: simply count the paper ballots in optical scan districts, and permit forensic examination of the voting systems in [touch-screen] districts.”


“Pennsylvania’s election system is stacked against voters. Both the technology by which voters cast ballots, as well as the byzantine and burdensome laws determining recounts in the state, are a national disgrace,” said Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party candidate for president. “The process underway in Pennsylvania this week is hardly an effective or comprehensive recount. Despite citizens across this state stepping up and demanding their right to verify the vote, every obstacle imaginable – legal, bureaucratic and political – has been thrown in their face. Pennsylvanians’ constitutional and civil rights to have their voices heard and their votes counted have been stripped from right under them.”


Approximately two-thirds of voting in Pennsylvania is done through Direct Record Electronic (DRE) touch-screen machines, which are susceptible to human and machine error, tampering and hacking. In fact, many states have banned or are phasing out the use of DRE touch-screen machines over security concerns. Worse, the machines do not dispense any paper ballot or receipt – leaving no evidence of the voting trail – something one election expert called a “nightmare scenario.” As a result, the only way to conduct a full, foolproof audit is through a “forensic analysis” – where cyber-security experts and computer scientists go into the black box of DRE machines and look for malware, bugs or manipulated software or files. But local courts in Pennsylvania have repeatedly denied Stein campaign requests for such an analysis.


The remaining one-third of voting in Pennsylvania is done through optical scan ballots, which are also vulnerable to tampering and errors. Computer scientists regularly warn about the vulnerabilities of these machines, including that they can be breached without detection and are prone to misreading ballots. In Detroit alone, 87 optical scan machines broke on Election Day this year. Substantial research, including a U.S. Civil Rights Commission report, finds that voters of color are at massively increased risk of having their votes misread or simply tossed out by badly maintained and poorly calibrated scanning machines in underserved communities.


“America's voting machines and optical scanners are prone to errors and susceptible to outside manipulation,” said J. Alex Halderman, one of the nation’s leading cyber security experts and a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Michigan, who attended the federal court hearing in Philadelphia Friday. “That's precisely why we need this recount – to examine the physical evidence, to look under the hood. A recount is the best way, and indeed the only way in 2016, to ensure public confidence that the results are accurate, authentic, and untainted by outside interference.”


In addition to a vulnerable voting process, Pennsylvania has one of the worst recount laws in the nation, requiring a bottom-up process in which voters across the state must bring official, notarized petitions to county boards, in time for shifting, divergent and secret deadlines known. Under Pennsylvania law, more than 27,000 voters in 9,000-plus districts are required to submit a request for a recount before a statewide count can begin. In 2016, concerned voters filed more than 950 recount petitions in nearly 320 election districts in Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Montgomery, and other counties.


Donald Trump and GOP allies, however, have used Pennsylvania’s decentralized and bureaucratic election system to suppress the recount. After news broke last week that Donald Trump’s lead in the state fell from roughly 70,000 to 49,000 votes, within 0.3% of triggering an automatic statewide recount, the Trump campaign filed a legalobjection in state court, claiming that following through with the recount would somehow “put Pennsylvania at grave risk.”


Pennsylvania voter Susan Finn, a 43-year-old mother of three who is a registered Independent, was among those in the state who submitted a recount petition as required by law. She petitioned because she's unsure that her vote – which she cast on a touch-screen DRE machine, after Board of Elections officials wrote her name into the rolls manually because her official change to her married name failed to register – was counted. After Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued in court against the recount, a Montgomery County judge ruled on Nov. 30 that the recount would not move forward in her precinct.


“I am outraged that Mr. Trump and allies are trying to deny us our constitutional rights and stop voters’ voices from being heard,” said Mrs. Finn. “I petitioned for a recount because my experience voting in Pennsylvania was a mess, filled with bureaucratic roadblocks that made it difficult for me to know, without a doubt, that my vote was counted. I will keep fighting to ensure it did. If Mr. Trump is as patriotic as he says he is, he needs to respect every American’s right to a fair and transparent election.”


Lawyers for the Republican Party have crisscrossed the state to fight recounts in courthouses from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. In Montgomery County, for example, Republican lawyers alleged that several voters could not file their recount affidavits because they allegedly failed to pay a “required” $50 court filing fee, even though they paid almost double that fee. Trump’s surrogates have argued that it requires 27,000 voters in all the state’s 9,000+ precincts to request a recount, in order for the voters in any single precinct to be recounted.


In one instance, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court demanded that 100-plus voters who petitioned for a statewide recount pay $1 million total to be able to move forward with their case. Citing the extraordinary financial burden that the state was putting on ordinary residents, the petitioners were forced to withdraw their case. The legal filing in response read simply: “Petitioners are regular citizens of ordinary means. They cannot afford to post the $1,000,000 bond required by the Court.”


“Pennsylvania places absurd and unacceptable barriers to democratic participation,” said Ilann Maazel, a lawyer for the Stein campaign. “Voters don’t know if their votes count, and there is no way for them to find out. We can’t hide democracy inside a black box.”


While recounts in some counties have proceeded, experts say that the chosen method – simply re-canvassing voting machines, rather than hand counting paper ballots or examining the software of electronic machines – is insufficient to guarantee the accuracy and security of the voting system. In Philadelphia, for example, the Elections Commission approved a recount in only 75 of nearly 1,700 precincts – but the Commission denied a full forensic audit of the voting machines, opting instead to simply run the ballots back through the machines.




(Detroit, Michigan) – Hundreds of Michigan voters across the state descended on downtown Detroit this afternoon, vowing to keep fighting for a voting system that is accurate, secure and just, following the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision Friday evening to deny a recount appeal. Joined by Dr. Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party candidate for president who initiated the recount in Michigan, protesters said that the numerous irregularities uncovered during three days of the recount provided significant evidence that voters in Michigan – particularly communities of color – may have been massively disenfranchised during the election.


“Efforts to block the recount in Michigan and across the country are a shameful attack on our democracy and on our constitutional and civil rights. We are going to fight like never before to secure and protect those rights – no matter what it takes,” said Lou Novak, a Detroit resident and recount volunteer who helped organize and spoke at the rally outside Cobo Hall in Detroit. “The discrepancies we’ve discovered while counting votes thus far are precisely the reason we needed a recount in the first place.”


In three days since the recount began, numerous red flags into the integrity of Michigan’s election have surfaced. Reports suggest that as many as half of Detroit votes – and many more in surrounding urban areas – were ineligible for a recount due to an antiquated state law that says a precinct cannot be recounted if the poll book and ballot box numbers fail to match. In 392 of 662 precincts in heavily Democratic Detroit, or 59 percent, the number of ballots in precinct poll books did not initially match those of voting machines printout reports. As the Detroit Free Press summed it in a headline Tuesday: “The list of problem precincts continues to grow during Michigan’s recount.”


“Although we are deeply disappointed in the decision by the Michigan Supreme Court not to hear our appeal that would have allowed Michigan’s recount to finish, we are not surprised given the political cronyism, bureaucratic obstruction, and legal maneuvering that have run roughshod over the democratic process,” said Dr. Jill Stein. “The importance of this recount has been reiterated every step of the way. A recount should not be this difficult or controversial. It should be automatic. If you take out money from a bank, the teller counts it twice – and the second time, they count it in front of your eyes. It should be well understood that something as important as a presidential election requires a basic level of quality assurance and verification.


During the recount, it was revealed that in Detroit alone, a shocking 87 voting machines broke on Election Day, many jamming when voters fed ballots into optical scanners resulting in erroneous vote counts. Daniel Baxter, elections director for the city of Detroit, told the Detroit News that the discrepancies were due to the city’s decade-old voting machines, saying the situation was “not good.” These revelations are in line with substantial research, including a U.S. Civil Rights Commission report, that finds that voters of color are at massively increased risk of having their votes misread or simply tossed out by human error or by badly maintained and poorly calibrated machines in underserved communities.


On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith lifted his emergency order that set into motion Michigan’s statewide recount. While the judge affirmed his earlier decision that uncertainty in the election represented “a credible threat” to the “fundamental right to vote, and to have that vote conducted fairly and counted accurately,” he said that federal court could not “ignore the Michigan court’s ruling and make an independent judgment regarding what the legislature intended.” The Judge wrote in the decision: “The issues that plaintiffs raise are serious indeed. The vulnerability of our system of voting poses the threat of a potentially devastating attack on the integrity of our election system.”


"We are deeply disappointed in Judge Goldsmith's ruling, which gives deference to partisan state judges in Michigan attempting to block the recount simply because of the person who made the request, without regard for the integrity of Michigan's electoral system,” said Hayley Horowitz and Jessica Clarke, Stein campaign lawyers in Michigan. “The history of this country is one where federal courts step in to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans, especially when they are under attack in the states. Well today, they are under brutal attack in Michigan from Donald Trump and state Republicans.”


There were 75,335 “under-votes” in Michigan, which are ballots that are filled out except for the vote for President—70 percent higher than the number in 2012. Many of these are in Oakland and Wayne Counties, which include Detroit, raising the very real possibility that communities of color may have been disenfranchised by an unreliable counting of the votes. The number of under-votes exceeds by several-fold Trump's margin of victory in the state.

“America's voting machines and optical scanners are prone to errors and susceptible to outside manipulation,” said J. Alex Halderman, one of the nation’s leading cyber security experts and a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Michigan. “That's precisely why we need this recount – to examine the physical evidence, to look under the hood. A recount is the best way, and indeed the only way in 2016, to ensure public confidence that the results are accurate, authentic, and untainted by outside interference.”


Lori Grace 1/20/17 of recap of Recount plus the future of Election Integrity

The upshot of what I want to say is that :
I feel generally very dismayed about the situation with elections in our country and with our country's process around recounts.
First, with respect to the elections, we have shown you through a series of articles that our elections may be being electronically manipulated from the Democratic primary onwards. We have tried to get the raw data from Edison Media Research. We have presented Edison Media Research with a lawsuit when the company refused to give us the raw data. That lawsuit sits waiting to be heard. We have also shared with you about Interstate Cross Check through showing and talking about film produced by Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
There was also voter suppression against college students in the Democratic primary and against minorities in the main election.

With respect to electronic manipulation, we also presented on the creation of Fraction Magic, a software system developed by Dominion (formerly Diebold) that can fractionalize votes according to the preferences of a secret programmer within Dominion if that programmer so chooses. Dr. Eric Coomer admitted to creating this system for "marketing reasons." Dominion Voting's website promises its customers a very "satisfying election experience." We have also shown that this system has been adopted by many other voting machine companies, among them HartIntercivic, and ES&S. It may also be being used by SOE, a division of Scytl, yet another company that manages elections and counts votes. We also presented a way to stop Fraction Magic which is to preserve and count ballot images or to do a hand recount of ballots. During the course of the recount in Wisconsin, we found very widespread use of wireless modems in precinct tabulators in which election results within the tabulators could be changed from the distance. The fact that modems are widespread makes it even more important to preserve and count ballot images or ballots. It is important to note that counting ballot images is substantially less expensive and time-consuming than a hand count. And now to top everything off, there is serious talk about Homeland Security taking over our elections because of the Russian hack. I do believe that the Russians were involved in hacking emails. I have yet to see evidence that they invaded voting machines. It seems that kind of manipulation could be done much more easily by a company insider.

About the recount attempts: After experiencing what happened with the Jill Stein recount, I can say with confidence that our state and federal governments do not support recounts after an election. This has been true since 2004. I thought it might be different this time. As it has turned out, it is just as bad as 2004. This is also very sad. After election day, we saw many discrepancies in the exit polls taken at the close of the election and the computerized vote totals. When we helped initiate the recount, I was so hopeful that the issue of election integrity would have been finally been recognized as profoundly important by the people and government officials of the United States. As it has turned out, it is not being recognized as such by our federal or state government. One positive thing that evolved during the 2016 election is that there are now many Americans who believe that our elections can be manipulated.

What disturbed me profoundly was all the resistance from election officials in each of the states. In Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, two Republican and one Democratic controlled states, respectively, the recount effort met with TREMENDOUS resistance. I came to see that the bulk of election officials and other government officials in all three states vigorously defended the computer vote totals and did not give Jill Stein any space to create a true recount or audit in any of the states. I saw the amount of money Jill had to raise be expanded by Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania as a way of deterring the recount. Jill Stein was also treated with much suspicion, ridicule and disdain by government officials and much of the media, who are always invested in preserving current election results. I had hoped by 2016 the amount of resistance had changed. It has not. In fact, it appears to have expanded. If you read the article by Bob Fitrakis that follows this brief letter, you will get the detailed account about just how much legal and financial resistance there was in all three states.

The Institute's ( work in Wisconsin:
We at made a choice to focus on Wisconsin, not because Michigan and Pennsylvania did not deserve our attention, but as a form of triage with limited funds. In Wisconsin, the only state that got anywhere with a recount, only 50% of the municipalities did a hand recount, which is the only kind of recount that is really worthy of trust. The other 50% of the municipalities refused. They agreed to only a machine recount which involves a low-paid election official feeding the ballots through scanners. After all the ballots were fed through, the same "total button" on the same tabulators that delivered the earlier results were pressed and the same computer totals were reached. Those recounts proved that the machines were in good condition. They delivered the same totals! We will be publishing the names of the municipalities and election officials that did participate in hand recounts and the ones that did not. We hope that these names will get to many people in Wisconsin in particular, so that they know the kind of election officials that are in their municipalities. We celebrate the officials who supported transparency in the election recounts! Thank you! The hand recounts differed only modestly from the computer totals.

Video reports about recount and stopping of recount by Republicans