Recount Update: January 25, 2018
Over a year after the historic effort to recount the 2016 vote, our legal team is still at work in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania fighting for an election system that is accurate, secure and just - and free from interference by any intruders, whether foreign or domestic!
Towards that end, we now have the exciting opportunity to conduct a groundbreaking state-wide examination of the voting machine “source code” - a crucial piece of voting machine software which controls the actual counting and tallying of the votes.
Incredibly, the source code for voting software has never before been examined for evidence of tampering or errors that would compromise an election!
During the recount, we claimed the right to examine this software under a new, unique Wisconsin law. This examination, conducted by computer voting experts, would check for evidence of human error, intentional interference or tampering by anyone - whether foreign powers, criminal networks, domestic partisans, or corporations that control the voting software.
But it will be a tough legal fight to make this happen. That’s because election law largely protects the privacy and profits of voting software companies over our right to an accurate and secure vote.
Before we can have the software examined, the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) must put in place confidentiality rules to protect the software companies’ private information.
Not surprisingly, the vendors of the voting software used by Wisconsin, Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. and Election Systems & Software, Inc., have opposed our request and have sought what we believe is an unfair confidentiality agreement that would prevent us from communicating with the public about our findings - even if we agreed not to disclose anything proprietary.
The WEC has been reviewing our request and the vendors’ response and we expect a final decision at their special meeting on January 31st.
If they do not grant us access to this crucial source code software, and the ability to share our findings with the public, we will challenge their decision in court.
The 2016 election was remarkable for evidence of hacking into multiple voter registration systems, private voting software companies, and local election officials’ computers. That makes it all the more surprising that no one has checked to see whether the hacking extended to the voting software used during the election.
Stay tuned for an update from Wisconsin soon.
In Pennsylvania we had sought a Federal Court order for a statewide recount, including an examination of voting machine software, which unfortunately was denied in December 2016. Though that decision derailed the Pennsylvania recount effort, we came right back with a challenge to the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s incredibly complicated recount procedure.
That procedure requires tens of thousands of voters to file legal requests for a recount by deadlines that county and state officials were unable to specify. This quagmire of bureaucracy effectively denies citizens their right to verify that their votes are counted.
The suit also calls for a forensic examination of voting equipment in order to verify the accuracy of the vote. Since Pennsylvania voting equipment is mostly paperless, there is no other option to verify the vote.
We expect that the case and its accompanying appeals are still a long way from over. Stay tuned for updates as the case progresses.
In addition to the lawsuit, Pennsylvania has seen an impressive emergence of grassroots action on election integrity and voting justice issues. Along with many other organizations, our team and supporters are working to prevent Pennsylvania from enacting restrictive Voter ID laws, and other disenfranchisement schemes like the wrongful purging of legitimate voters through programs like Interstate Crosscheck.
It’s clear that the struggle for election integrity and voting justice won’t be easy or quick, but it is critical for building a real democracy that our future depends on.
If you have questions about the recount effort or ongoing election integrity litigation, please take a look at our Recount 2016 frequently asked questions. If you don’t see an answer to your question, please send it to us and we’ll do our best to answer it.
Thank you for leading the charge, and making all of this possible with your initial recount support!
Recount Update: October 17, 2017
In a country that proudly calls itself a democracy, the question we raised with the 2016 recount effort was simple: do we have an election system we can trust, that is accurate, secure and just?
So far, the answer is a resounding NO.
In an age of commonplace computer security breaches - from the WannaCry ransomware intrusions into energy, health care and transportation, to the Equifax hack into hundreds of millions of credit accounts - it's astounding that the security of our voting technology has still not been verified.
To put it simply, an un-recountable election is a blank check for fraud and malfeasance. It is a guarantee that elections cannot and will not be verified.
For that reason, we continue to fight in the court of law and the court of public opinion for a just and verifiable voting system we can trust!
At the Democracy Convention in August, a number of leaders from the recount effort reported on key findings, ongoing challenges and lessons learned from the recount effort so far.
Legal action continues in Pennsylvania, and we are still working with the Wisconsin Election Commission to get important information about voting machines in Wisconsin. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
Recount 2016 overview:
Jill Stein and Alex Halderman, leading expert on election cybersecurity, gave a big picture overview of the 2016 recount effort. Dr. Halderman detailed the shocking vulnerability of our voting system to hacking and other forms of tampering. Dr. Stein discussed the politically-fueled opposition in the US to verifying the vote, a practice that is common in democratic countries around the world. All this underscores why we need election protection in the form of paper ballots, routine audits to verify the vote count, and cybersecurity best practices to prevent hacking of the vote.
Watch the Recount 2016 overview.
Recount reports from MI, PA and WI:
Lynne Serpe, George Martin and Rick Lass, who were on the front lines of the recount efforts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, reported what happened in each state and ongoing election integrity struggles. In Michigan, political operatives leaned on partisan judges to stop the recount - but not before it exposed major problems calling the 2016 results into question. In Pennsylvania, a nightmare of bureaucracy stopped thousands of voters calling for a recount in a state that relies heavily on touch-screen voting machines banned in other states. In Wisconsin, we saw “half a recount” that glossed over the major communities of color that are most vulnerable to voter suppression.
Watch the Recount Reports from MI, PA and WI.
Recounts and lessons learned, 2004-2016:
Election integrity veterans Lynne Serpe, Mark Halvorson and John Maa discuss the recent history of recounts in the US, from the 2004 Ohio recount to the 2016 recount effort, and what we’ve learned about how to create a voting system we can trust.
Watch Recounts and Lessons Learned, 2004-2016.
It’s clear that the struggle for election integrity and voting justice won’t be easy or quick, but it is critical for building a real democracy. Thank you for leading the charge in this critical struggle.
Recount Update: April 21, 2017
As Donald Trump’s corporate administration watches its approval ratings plummet, it’s a critical time for people to rise up and fight for democracy.
Recount activists have been hard at work making sure that the lessons of the recount lead to lasting reforms. Here’s a quick update on what we’re doing and how you can get involved:
Voting Justice conference in Milwaukee energizes electoral reform movement
This past weekend in Milwaukee, Jill joined voting justice champions in the Midwest for the second successful Voting Justice and Democratizing Elections conference. Movement leaders shared their expertise about election integrity efforts after #Recount2016, “new Jim Crow” voter suppression schemes, redistricting reform to fight gerrymandering, fair voting systems like Ranked Choice Voting, and much more.
You can watch many of the presentations from the Milwaukee Voting Justice and Democratizing Elections conference on Jill Stein’s Facebook page.
Democracy Convention in August - mark your calendar now
From the recent Voting Justice and Democratizing Elections conferences in Philly and Milwaukee, to the grassroots resistance movements springing up to defy the political establishment across the country, it’s clear that the 2016 election has galvanized a movement for real change and real democracy.
The Democracy Convention brings together all these movements - including the democracy, peace, environmental, racial justice movements and more - together to learn, connect and get inspired for the struggle for a better world.
Jill Stein and many other organizers will be in Minneapolis on August 2-6 for the third national Democracy Convention. Mark your calendar now so you don’t miss this opportunity to plug into the movement for an America and a world that works for all of us!
Recount 2016 Budget Update: February 20, 2017
As part of our commitment to transparency around recount fundraising and budgeting, the Recount 2016 team has prepared a recount budget update detailing expenses as of 2/20/17:
|Total amount raised: $7,129,524
|Filing fees:||$4,473,130* (before WI Refund)|
|Recount observer costs:||$106,791|
*WI Filing Fee Refund: $1,494,085.91
Remaining balance: $1,235,385.91
*$1.49 million has been refunded from the states back to the recount campaign to date, with additional refunds still possible. All refunds are currently being set aside to pay for continuing recount legal action and related costs. Once the court case(s) have been complete, any remaining funds will be distributed to voting justice initiatives as determined by a ranked choice vote by the donors.
Recount Update: January 13, 2017
The counting may be over. But thanks to your support, the fight continues for real democracy and elections we can trust! With 80% of voters disgusted by the election and 90% having lost faith in our political system, this fight is more important than ever.
In the wake of a divisive and bitter election, over 10,000 volunteers and 161,000 donors came forward to make this historic multi-state Recount possible. On Thanksgiving weekend, you launched this Recount as a key step we the people could take to help build the democracy we deserve. This remarkable citizen initiative is still going strong.
In Wisconsin, activists are still fighting for our right to examine the privately-managed electronic machines, so we can investigate potential malfeasance, error or hacking by any bad actor - domestic or foreign. Nearly half of Wisconsin voters were denied a reliable hand recount, largely in under-resourced communities of color, the very places voting machines are most likely to fail. To push for urgently needed legislative fixes, activists have launched a broad based “Count My Vote” coalition.
In Michigan, concerns were raised by an unprecedented 75,000 blank votes, many in communities of color. This exceeded the margin of victory by seven-fold. The recount found widespread failure of vote counting machines in Detroit’s communities of color, sounding the alarm about yet another instance of electoral Jim Crow. Thanks to Recount pressure, Michigan has agreed to replace these outdated, unreliable machines in Detroit.
In Pennsylvania, a bureaucratic nightmare of vague and contradictory rules prevented the recount from even getting started. These rules required over 27,000 voters to file notarized papers by unspecified dates at unclear locations. Paperless touchscreen voting machines used by 80% of Pennsylvania voters make it all the more important to examine the software of these fallible, unaccountable machines. Recount activists are pushing for overdue legislation to fix these problems.
The American people deserve a voting system we can trust - that is accurate, secure and just. The Recount showed we do not have such a system. But this movement is not over yet. Which is why we were excited to learn this week of the possibility to redouble the fight in court, among other possible initiatives for voting integrity and justice. As you may recall, you, and all our Recount donors, will have an essential role to play in determining the use of any surplus recount money to continue this movement.
This is what democracy looks like!
As the recount comes to a close, I want to thank you - over 10,000 volunteers and more than 161,000 donors - who made this extraordinary, historic campaign possible.
We affirmed the power of the American people to demand a voting system we can trust, that is accurate, secure and just, and free from modern-day Jim Crow in our elections. We pushed forward in three states, defiant in the face of political blockades, bureaucratic hurdles and financial intimidation.
By revealing serious problems in our voting systems – out-of-date laws and recount procedures, politicized courts, machine failure and vulnerability, and flagrant racial inequities - these recounts were a resounding success. Our efforts have shined a light on the urgent need for reforms to our electoral system, and to the recounts that are supposed to safeguard that system.We look forward to continuing our work together to make those reforms a reality.
Ending our historic fundraising drive to pay for the recount, we look to you for input on how to use any funds that may remain. We are working hard to determine final costs, pending word from the states as to the ultimate costs of the recount in each state.
Once those costs are finalized, all remaining money will go to a set of non-partisan election reform and voting rights organizations based on your input in an online, ranked choice vote. The final list of organizations who could receive the leftover funds will be made public on our website in the coming weeks, and you as the engine of this process will be the first to know.
After a bitter, divisive election, now facing serious threats to our civil and constitutional rights, defending the bedrock of democracy - our right to vote, and to be confident in that vote - is more important than ever.
Moving forward, I, along with the Green Party, am committed to continue to fight with you for election integrity and voting justice on the frontlines of this struggle.
Thank you again for all you have done to build the movement for elections we can trust. In these unprecedented challenging times, we have taken a defiant leap forward towards the democracy we deserve, and the just and sustainable future that depends on it.
I look forward to our continuing work together.
With deep gratitude,