When we decided to initiate a recount, together with over 10,000 volunteers and 161,000 donors, we knew it wouldn’t be easy.
But we had little idea how hard the political establishment would fight against transparent, accountable elections.
In Michigan, Trump’s GOP cronies stopped the recount despite - or maybe because of - revelations about major problems with the vote count, particularly in under-resourced black and brown communities.
In Wisconsin, although the law was on our side, many low-income communities of color most vulnerable to tampering never got the hand recount needed to verify the vote.
But the worst mess was in Pennsylvania, where over 80% of voters use touch-screen machines with no tangible paper backup. These paperless voting machines are so vulnerable to hacking and so difficult to verify that they have been banned in most states.
To make things worse, Pennsylvania law makes it virtually impossible for citizens to know whether their votes are actually counted. Thousands of volunteers mobilized in days to petition for recounts - only to be thwarted by a nightmare of bureaucracy.
This is the sorry state of democracy in America today. 240 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, we do not have a voting system where we can insure that the results are legitimate - unlike most Western democracies, where recounts are routine in close elections.
We are determined to end this travesty, and to leverage the lessons of the recount to win concrete, urgently needed voting justice reforms.
At the very outset of the recount, we filed a federal lawsuit declaring the state of Pennsylvania is failing to protect its citizens’ constitutional right to vote. That suit has finally come up for a hearing, enabling us to utilize our volunteers’ painstaking work to challenge Pennsylvania’s regime of undemocratic, non-transparent and unaccountable elections.
While lobbyist-dominated legislatures regularly block progress on voting justice, we’ve seen major court wins in recent years, like the recent decision against North Carolina’s racist gerrymandering.
Now our landmark Pennsylvania lawsuit is an opportunity not only to fix one state’s seriously marred system, but to score a major victory that will raise the bar for voting justice in every state.
Finally, we can tell all in the epic court battle we’ve been waiting for.
Moving forward with the Pennsylvania lawsuit honors our commitment to use recount dollars for litigation at the heart of the recount battle, which could lead to lasting reforms.
This lawsuit is estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1 million. If successful, we can recoup a substantial portion of the costs. Fortunately, with $1.49 million refunded by Wisconsin, and a possible refund from Michigan, resources should suffice for existing lawsuits, and to fund grassroots action for voting justice. Stay tuned for a full budget update.
As our donors know, any surplus funds available after completing the recount litigation, will be put to a ranked choice vote in which the donors will help determine how to best allocate those funds to advance the cause of voting justice in America.
With democracy under assault from so many directions - from the decades-long rise of money in politics, to “irregularities” in the Democratic primary, to Donald Trump’s misleading charges of voter fraud - it’s more important than ever that we continue to fight for elections we can trust, that are accurate, secure and just! We thank our donors for leading the charge.
It’s in our hands!