For Immediate Release: Monday, December 5 at 9AM ET
Stein and Supporters to Trump: End Opposition to Recounts
Voting rights must be protected; Americans deserve to know the truth about election
PA election system denies voters’ civil rights, Stein alleges in federal court, Demanding statewide recount
(New York, NY) – Dr. Jill Stein will take the fight to verify the presidential vote directly to Donald Trump’s doorstep Monday morning, demanding an end to his efforts to suppress recounts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. In a rally outside Trump Tower in Manhattan, Dr. Stein will tell supporters assembled that the recounts are an essential step to protect voting rights, arguing that all Americans deserve to know if their right to vote has been respected and their vote has been counted.
The rally comes just moments after the Stein campaign filed in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania, demanding an immediate statewide recount of the election on constitutional grounds. The lawsuit states that Pennsylvania’s election system “is a national disgrace,” and violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as the First Amendment, for failing to ensure the right to vote for all citizens. It outlines the state’s byzantine process for requesting a recount, which it calls a “sham,” and its reliance on “vulnerable, hackable, and antiquated” machines lacking a paper trail banned in other U.S. states.
“Donald Trump’s desperate attempts to obstruct what should be a routine verification of the democratic process beg the question: What is he so afraid of?” said Dr. Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party candidate for president, whose campaign is leading the nation’s first-ever multi-state presidential recount. “Trump must stop trying to suppress the vote and will of the people. A full, accurate hand recount and a forensic audit of the electronic voting machines is a key step toward restoring the rights of individuals that been marginalized and disenfranchised for too long. We will not stop until the civil and voting rights of all Americans are protected.”
The Stein campaign was delivered a victory early Monday morning, when a federal judge in Michigan granted the campaign’s emergency request to immediately start the statewide recount. Writing in an opinion issued just after midnight, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said a state law requiring a two-business day waiting period to start the recount likely violates voting rights. “The fundamental right invoked by plaintiffs – the right to vote, and to have that vote conducted fairly and counted accurately – is the bedrock of our nation,” the opinion read. Michigan’s recount is now set to begin at noon Monday.
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. The recount must move forward – and 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."
Donald Trump has been leading the fight against verifying the vote in the presidential election, despite repeatedly calling the election “rigged” as a candidate for president. He took to Twitter on Sunday to wrongfully accuse the Stein campaign of stopping its recount efforts in Pennsylvania, calling them a “scam.” Yet recounts in all three states gained momentum over the weekend in spite of Trump’s obstruction.
- In Pennsylvania: Today’s federal lawsuit follows the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s shocking demand Friday that the 100+ voters who petitioned for a statewide recount pay a bond of $1 million to move forward in court. The extraordinary financial burden placed on petitioners forced them to withdraw the case Saturday. The Trump campaign has been obstructing recount efforts in the state since their inception, and had filed a legal objection to the now-withdrawn lawsuit from voters in state court. Amid legal battles over a statewide recount, vote recounts underway in many precincts across the state continue this week.
- In Michigan: Following demands by Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette and Trump’s lawyers to halt the statewide recount—delaying its start until this coming Wednesday—the Stein campaign on Saturday filed in federal court calling for an immediate start to the recount. The filing stated that the delay violates equal protection and due process rights guaranteed under the Constitution. On Mondaymorning, a U.S. District Judge agreed that the delay likely violated the voting rights of Michigan citizens, and ordered the recount to begin noon Monday.
- In Wisconsin: Recounts are underway in all 72 Wisconsin counties, after a federal court late Friday rejected a request by pro-Trump Super PACs for a temporary order to stop counting votes. The judge set a hearing to hear the issue in full for Friday, at which point the recount will be fully underway and near completion in parts of the state.
“The forces trying to stop this grassroots recount are the same ones that have been undermining our democracy and disenfranchising voters for decades,” Dr. Stein said. “Whether it’s a court in Pennsylvania demanding $1 million before even listening to the voices of ordinary voters, or an Attorney General disregarding the rule of law and demands of the people of Michigan in favor of doing Trump’s own bidding, our democracy is being stolen from us in plain sight. What we need now is not to ‘Make America Great Again,’ but to return America to its rightful owner – the people, not the powerful.
Momentum is quickly growing across the nation in support of the recount. According to a YouGov.com poll released Thursday, a majority of Republicans (60%) believe that the recounts would help convince people of the accuracy of the outcome; and a majority of Americans believe that if roles were reversed, Donald Trump would pursue recounts just like Dr. Stein. More than 145,000 supporters across the nation have donated to help cover the costs of the recounts, with more than $7 million raised in just 12 days, with an average donation of $48.
An increasing number of election and security experts have raised concerns over the accuracy, security and integrity of the election, due to significant evidence of security breaches during the 2016 election and a number of statistical irregularities in voting data. In Michigan, there were an astounding 75,335 ‘under-votes,’ or ballots that were filled out except for the vote for President—doubling the number from 2012. A significant proportion of these were found in Wayne and Oakland Counties, which includes Detroit, raising questions that communities of color may have been disenfranchised in an unreliable counting of the vote.
Irregularities & Inconsistencies
There is significant evidence of outside interference during the 2016 presidential campaign. Sophisticated hackers targeted the voter registration systems of 20 states and got into at least two, Illinois and Arizona. State elections offices’ databases were targeted. Moreover, there are a number of statistical irregularities in voting data, which merit heightened scrutiny given the historic level of concern over hacking during this election:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
“My analysis [in Wisconsin], which relies on using election forensics techniques designed to identify electoral fraud, reveals some reasons to be suspicious about vote patterns,” wrote Walter R. Mebane, Jr., a professor of political science and statistics at the University of Michigan, in theWashington Post last week. “A rigorous audit or a full recount that has humans manually checking the paper ballots can provide convincing evidence about who won the election.”
Issues with Voting Machines & Machine Recounts
In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, approximately two-thirds and one-tenth of voting, respectively, is done through touch-screen machines (DREs) that are susceptible to manipulation and hacking (and which many states have banned or are phasing out). 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. 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.
“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.”