In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein is paying for a recount in Wisconsin, with recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania likely to join. Hillary Clinton’s campaign has agreed to participate in the recount effort. Recounts typically do not reverse election results, but that notion hasn’t stopped President-elect Donald Trump from tweeting, without evidence, that there was “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California.” “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” the president-elect wrote in another unsubstantiated tweet. Trump won the election by less than 100,000 votes across four swing states.
National: Voting rights advocates brace for ‘biggest fight of our lifetime’ during Trump administration | The Washington Post
Voting rights advocates are furious at President-elect Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and concerned that his administration will more vigorously adopt measures that will make it harder for some groups of people to vote. Some state and local election officials in recent years have cited the potential for voter fraud as the reason for enacting strict voter ID laws, requiring additional verification for people who want to register to vote and conducting mass voter purges. Trump’s promotion of the widely debunked notion of rampant voter fraud and the presence in his inner circle of political leaders who supported stricter voting laws send a troubling signal, say advocates who have spent the past several years fighting what they say are efforts to disenfranchise minorities, young, elderly and low-income voters. “They don’t want us to participate in this democracy,” said Cristóbal J. Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project. “We are gearing up for what will be the biggest fight of our lifetime.”
Anti-Trump forces are preparing an unprecedented assault on the Electoral College, marked by a wave of lawsuits and an intensive lobbying effort aimed at persuading 37 Republican electors to vote for a candidate other than Donald Trump. It’s a bracing stress-test for an institution that Alexander Hamilton envisioned as a safeguard against popular whims, and a direct challenge to the role that the Electoral College has evolved to play in picking the president: constitutional rubber stamp. Behind the overt anti-Trump push is a covert agenda: If the courts establish that individual electors can switch allegiances, supporting candidates other than those who win their states, it would inject so much uncertainty into the process that states may be willing to junk the Electoral College in favor of a popular-vote winner. “There might well be a clamor to get rid of the Electoral College altogether, a move that would have some disadvantages (like eliminating Hamilton’s safeguard) but many advantages as well,” said Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University. “Anyhow, clamor and anger have become par for the course in this loony election year.”
Taxpayers could be on the hook for close to $1 million — or more — for a proposed recount of Michigan’s presidential election results, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said Tuesday. Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who took just more than 1% of the presidential vote in the Nov. 8 election, has announced she will request a statewide recount by Wednesday’s deadline as a check against possible counting mistakes or fraud. Stein is being charged $125 per precinct, a cost originally estimated at $787,500 in total. But Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas said Monday the actual cost charged to Stein could be around $900,000, based on the final size of the recount and the addition of absentee ballot precincts. Any cost beyond the $125 per precinct would be borne by taxpayers at the county level, he said. Stein’s campaign said in a Tuesday news release it expects to pay a Michigan filing fee of $973,250.
Nevada: Independent candidate files for recount of sample of Nevada presidential ballots | Las Vegas Review-Journal
Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, an independent candidate for president who garnered less than 1 percent of the vote in Nevada, filed late Tuesday for a recount of a sample of the state’s presidential ballots. De La Fuente identified 93 precincts to be recounted and paid $14,154.98 to the secretary of state’s office ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline to cover the cost. In the November election, De La Fuente came in dead last in the presidential contest on the Nevada ballot, even trailing “None of these candidates.” He received just 2,552 votes, or 0.23 percent. Democratic contender Hillary Clinton won Nevada with 47.9 percent of the vote, beating Republican President-elect Donald Trump by a little more than 2 percent. In a statement Tuesday, De La Fuente said he ran in the Democratic presidential primary, then ran in the general election in various states as an independent and as the nominee of both the Reform Party and the American Delta Party in “an effort to champion election reform.” Under state law, the secretary of state’s office has five days to complete a recount of the precincts requested — two each in Carson City, Douglas, Mineral and Nye counties and the rest in Clark County, the state’s population hub and home to about 2 million people.
The countdown is on to see whether efforts by the left to call for recounts in this year’s presidential election actually make a difference in the final tallies. Attention continues to swirl around Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s push for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan – states where Donald Trump had small margins of victory over Hillary Clinton. Some experts though question whether the same attention should be given to states Clinton won by similar margins. For comparison the latest election tally shows Clinton winning Nevada by 26,434 votes, only slightly larger than Trump’s 24 thousand vote lead in Wisconsin.
Though there is no evidence behind President-elect Donald Trump’s recent claim of “serious’’ voter fraud in New Hampshire, the state could see a handful of election law changes now that Republicans are in charge at the State House. Gov.-elect Chris Sununu wants to eliminate Election Day registration, while fellow Republicans in the legislature have long sought a 10- or 30-day residency requirement. They say the changes would give voters more confidence in New Hampshire’s election systems. ‘‘It’s simply about doing things the right way,’’ Sununu recently told WMUR-TV of his calls to eliminate same-day registration. Sununu was not immediately available for a comment to The Associated Press. The offices of both the Attorney General and Secretary of State say there aren’t enough complaints to back up any assertions of wide-scale voter fraud. Trump tweeted Sunday that the media is ignoring ‘‘serious fraud’’ in New Hampshire, Virginia and California, without providing evidence for his claims.
A federal court Tuesday ordered North Carolina to hold a special legislative election next year after 28 state House and Senate districts are redrawn to comply with a gerrymandering ruling. U.S. District Court judges earlier this year threw out the current legislative district map, ruling that 28 of them were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. They allowed the 2016 election to continue under the old maps, but ordered legislators to draw new districts in 2017. Tuesday’s order settled the question of whether the new districts would take effect for the regularly scheduled 2018 election cycle, or if a special election would be required. “While special elections have costs, those costs pale in comparison to the injury caused by allowing citizens to continue to be represented by legislators elected pursuant to a racial gerrymander,” the three-judge panel wrote in the order.
North Carolina: NC GOP: Durham recount could resolve governor’s election within days | News & Observer
After the State Board of Elections effectively rejected Republican protests about ineligible voters, Durham County is the last point of contention in the unresolved governor’s race – and the N.C. Republican Party said Tuesday that a recount there could resolve the election within days. The board will meet Wednesday afternoon to review a request for a recount of early votes in Durham County. As the final absentee and provisional ballots are tallied this week, Democrat Roy Cooper had a lead of around 9,800 votes late Tuesday over Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. McCrory is entitled to a statewide recount if the margin remains under 10,000 votes. Cooper got 79 percent of the vote in Durham County, and the Democratic stronghold has been a frequent target of Republican election complaints.
The Green Party-backed push for a recount of Pennsylvania’s presidential election results will get its day in court. Commonwealth Court has scheduled a hearing for 10 a.m. Monday in Harrisburg to consider the recount effort pushed by former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, according to a court order Tuesday. Ms. Stein’s campaign helped coordinate a legal challenge this week seeking the statewide recount, contending the Nov. 8 election was illegal and its results inaccurate. It cited as evidence research by computer scientists pointing to potential hacking of electronic voting machines, as well as numerous news reports of hacking, possibly by foreign governments, into email accounts associated with the Democratic National Committee and the campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton. In scheduling Monday’s hearing, the court order said little about the proceeding. But it said “a conclusive decision” on the matter must be reached by Dec. 13, the deadline for Pennsylvania’s electors to declare who wins the state’s 20 electoral votes.
A Wisconsin judge refused on Tuesday to order local election workers to conduct the state’s upcoming presidential recount completely by hand Tuesday, finding that nothing suggests the state’s electronic tabulating machines have been hacked. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has been trying to make the case that Wisconsin’s tabulating machines could have been compromised in a cyberattack and a hand recount is the only way to tell for sure. But Dane County Circuit Court Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn concluded Stein’s attorneys failed to show any hard evidence the machines were attacked and are unreliable. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by about 22,000 votes in Wisconsin, but Stein has alleged — without evidence — that the results may have been hacked. She asked for a recount last week, saying the state needs to be sure.
For Jill Stein, it’s time to put her money where her mouth is. After raising $6.5 million and taking steps to initiate recounts in a trio of states Hillary Clinton lost in the Nov. 8 presidential election, Stein has to now pay for the recounts. The estimated costs vary for the three states where she’s fueling recount efforts —Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — but combined, it’s within the amount of money Stein has raised so far. Stein on Tuesday met the 4:30 CT filing deadline and paid the nearly $3.5 million required for a recount, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Earlier in the day, fringe independent presidential candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente withdrew his petition for a recount. The recount starts Thursday. In Michigan, Stein has until Wednesday to request a formal recount and must pay $973,250 to underwrite the costs, according to the Michigan secretary of state’s office. Her campaign on Monday notified the Michigan Board of State Canvassers of its intent to request — but has yet to file paperwork. Michigan officials expect Stein to pay the fee and initiate the recount before the deadline.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission agreed Monday to begin a recount of the presidential election on Thursday but was sued by Green Party candidate Jill Stein after the agency declined to require county officials to recount the votes by hand. It will be a race to finish the recount in time to meet a daunting federal deadline, and the lawsuit could delay the process. Under state law, the recount must begin this week as long as Stein or another candidate pays the $3.5 million estimated cost of the recount by Tuesday, election officials said. Also Monday, Stein filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania to force a recount there and her supporters began filing recount requests at the precinct level in the Keystone State. Stein — who received just a tiny piece of the national vote — also plans to ask for a recount in Michigan on Wednesday.
The victory of François Fillon in France’s center-right presidential primary is the latest sign that a tectonic shift is coming to the European order: toward accommodating, rather than countering, a resurgent Russia. Since the end of World War II, European leaders have maintained their ever-growing alliance as a bulwark against Russian power. Through decades of ups and downs in Russian-European relations, in periods of estrangement or reconciliation, their balance of power has kept the continent stable. But a growing movement within Europe that includes Mr. Fillon, along with others of a more populist bent, is pushing a new policy: instead of standing up to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, stand with him.
Suddenly, the taxi driver looked at me nervously and fell silent. He had just complained copiously about the situation in his country. With the economy in dire straits – he called it a catastrophe – he had to work two jobs, as a driver and an electrician, just to feed his family. Neither was a steady job. But then I told him that I was a journalist and he was shocked. “It is dangerous to speak openly to people, even within our own families. You can’t trust anyone,” he said.
As a foreign journalist in The Gambia you are constantly confronted with people’s fears of saying the wrong thing. Interviews start by being agreed to, but are then quickly cancelled. “Too busy”, you are told. The international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) talks of a “climate of fear” in this small west-African state. Since staging a successful coup 22 years ago, President Yahya Jammeh has used arbitrary arrests, torture and kidnapping as a way to pressure journalists and civil society to impose self-censorship, a report by HRW said.
The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service has warned that next year’s general election could be targeted by Russian hackers intent on spreading misinformation and undermining the democratic process. Bruno Kahl, president of the Bundesnachrichtendienst, said Russia may have been behind attempts during the US presidential campaign to interfere with the vote. “We have evidence that cyber-attacks are taking place that have no purpose other than to elicit political uncertainty,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung in his first interview since he was appointed five months ago. “The perpetrators are interested in delegitimising the democratic process as such, regardless of who that ends up helping. We have indications that [the attacks] come from the Russian region.
With Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, 2016 has already contributed its share of major political upsets. Yet another upset may be in the making. The upcoming Italian referendum on constitutional reform could possibly have disastrous consequences for Europe and the world. It may seem strange that a national constitutional referendum could have global consequences. The reason it may have larger implications has to do with the euro zone — the club of European Union members that share a common currency. As political scientists like Mark Blyth have noted, the euro zone is badly designed. Although it has a common currency, it does not have a central fiscal authority to make financial transfers across states to balance out shocks and assure shared economic growth and prosperity. This means that over the past eight years of economic crisis, it has destabilized European politics, driving a political wedge between poor southern European states and richer northern European states. This, together with the refugee crisis, has encouraged nationalist parties to mobilize against E.U. institutions across the continent and pro-integration mainstream parties to try to fight back. It also means that a shock in one country can possibly have broader reverberations for Europe and the world.
More election security experts have joined Jill Stein’s campaign to review the presidential vote in battleground states won by Donald Trump, as she sues Wisconsin to secure a full recount by hand of all its 3m ballots. Half a dozen academics and other specialists on Monday submitted new testimony supporting a lawsuit from Stein against Wisconsin authorities, in which she asked a court to prevent county officials from carrying out their recounts by machine. … Professor Poorvi Vora of George Washington University said in an affidavit that hackers could have infected vote-scanning machinery in Wisconsin with malware designed to skew automatic recounts as well as the original vote count. “It is not possible to determine with certainty the absence of malicious software hiding within what might appear to be many thousands of lines of legitimate software code,” said Vora, who added that the only way to ensure the integrity of the count was a recount by hand. … Arguing that a manual count of paper ballots was the only way to ensure there had been no outside interference, Professor Ronald Rivest of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology quoted the Russian proverb made famous by president Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify.” “We have learned the hard way that almost any computer system can be broken into by a sufficiently determined, skillful, and persistent adversary,” said Rivest.
National: Electronic voting under scrutiny as computer experts lobby for recounts in swing states | Washington Times
The paper-or-plastic dilemma has moved out of the supermarket and into America’s boards of elections, where officials are grappling with that very question in the wake of yet another messy presidential race. Paper ballots seemed headed for extinction after Americans spent Thanksgiving 2000 glued to their televisions, watching Broward County canvassing board Judge Robert Rosenberg peer through his giant magnifying glass at dimpled, pregnant and hanging chads during the Florida recount. But election officials who flocked toward electronic machines in the wake of the recount are now having a rethink, as fears of hacking set in. Those fears were further stoked this week when a group of voting and computer experts urged recounts in three swing states, saying tampering could have swung the Nov. 8 election to Donald Trump. “The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania,” J. Alex Halderman, the computer expert who has lobbied the Clinton campaign to demand recounts, said in an internet post Wednesday.
National: Russia probably didn’t hack US election – but we still need audits, experts say | The Guardian
The computer science experts who want the presidential election results audited don’t think a Russian vote-hacking operation is likely, either. But they’ve been upset for a decade that there’s no way to make sure. Jeremy J Epstein, senior computer scientist at research center SRI International, said the effort to audit the vote “was and is a nationwide effort over a long period of time”. The Green party candidate, Jill Stein, has applied for a recount. The Clinton campaign has said it will cooperate. “The Stein folks have somewhat hijacked the message, but I’m not worried,” Epstein said. “In fact, the goal of an audit is to verify [emphasis his] that the result was as originally reported.” Epstein describes himself as “75% confident that Trump won, and 25% that either there was an error in counting or there was a hack”. “Any accusation that it’s partisan and of-the-moment is ignorant of the history,” Epstein told the Guardian. Epstein, formerly of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, is one of the country’s foremost experts on election security and last year successfully crusaded to get insecure WinVote voting machines decertified and removed in Virginia.
President-elect Donald J. Trump is well into filling out his cabinet and picking key advisers. But a move to challenge the vote tallies in three swing states — an extreme long shot to reverse his Electoral College majority — is advancing in the background, creating a noisy distraction on Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed and raising last-ditch hopes of some Hillary Clinton supporters. In Wisconsin, elections officials said on Monday that a recount of the state’s nearly three million votes would most likely begin on Thursday. In Pennsylvania, Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, who initiated the recounts, filed a legal challenge of the results in state court. And the Stein campaign said it planned to request a recount in Michigan on Wednesday. Neither Ms. Stein nor the Clinton campaign has found evidence of election tampering in any of the three states, where Mr. Trump beat Mrs. Clinton by a combined margin of only about 100,000 votes. But once Ms. Stein seized on the issue last week, the Clinton campaign said it, too, would join in the efforts to seek recounts.
President-Elect Donald Trump’s claim that ballot fraud in certain parts of the country cost him the popular vote is not going over well in the states he singled out. Hillary Clinton’s total was swollen by millions of people voting illegally in the Nov. 8 election, Trump said Sunday, citing New Hampshire, Virginia and California. Although Trump won easily with electoral votes, unofficial totals have him trailing Clinton 64,654,483 votes to 62,418,820, according to a Cook Political Report analysis Monday. “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted Sunday. Officials in those states insisted Monday that Trump’s claim of millions of illegal votes, including ones allegedly cast by illegal immigrants, is unfounded.
Editorials: Why I Support An Election Audit, Even Though It’s Unlikely To Change The Outcome | Nate Silver/FiveThirtyEight
Here at FiveThirtyEight, we’ve been skeptical of claims of irregularities in the presidential election. As we pointed out last week, there are no obvious statistical anomalies in the results in swing states based on the type of voting technology that each county employed. Instead, demographic differences, particularly the education levels of voters, explain the shifts in the vote between 2012 and 2016 fairly well. But that doesn’t mean I take some sort of philosophical stance against a recount or an audit of elections returns, or that other people at FiveThirtyEight do. Such efforts might make sense, with a couple of provisos. The first proviso: Let’s not call it a “recount,” because that’s not really what it is. It’s not as though merely counting the ballots a second or third time is likely to change the results enough to overturn the outcome in three states. An apparent win by a few dozen or a few hundred votes might be reversed by an ordinary recount. But Donald Trump’s margins, as of this writing, are roughly 11,000 votes in Michigan, 23,000 votes in Wisconsin and 68,000 votes in Pennsylvania. There’s no precedent for a recount overturning margins like those or anything close to them. Instead, the question is whether there was a massive, systematic effort to manipulate the results of the election.
County clerks are preparing to recount, by hand, the 2016 presidential election and do it by Dec. 12. In Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, that means nailing down a central location to perform the recount in each county and finding enough workers to carry out the tedious task of going over hundreds of thousands of ballots one at a time. “This is a monumental undertaking,” said Joe Rozell, director of elections in Oakland County, where 678,090 ballots must be reviewed one-by-one. “We’ve never had a countywide recount of this magnitude.” The window for a possible statewide recount opened on Monday when the Michigan Board of Canvassers certified the state’s presidential election results, which showed Republican nominee Donald Trump won the state by 10,704 votes. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has indicated she will request a recount in Michigan by Wednesday’s deadline. A recount would begin on Friday in the state’s 19 largest counties, which includes Oakland, Wayne and Macomb.
This could be a stressful week for Chris Thomas, Michigan’s director of elections. Thomas would be the guy in charge of recounting, by hand, Michigan’s 4.8 million ballots. That would be triggered if Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein makes the request. “The thing that keeps me up at night is just being able to finish on time,” Thomas says. “It’s probably going to be a ten day recount, to do an entire state, and that’s going to be tough. And it’s going to really challenge the elections officials across this state.” Those officials are already very confused. Different city clerks have completely different ideas about how this process would work. One clerk says the recount is done in teams of three, with one person reading off the ballot and the two other people tallying each one on separate spreadsheets.
North Carolina: McCrory campaign said it would appeal election complaints – but hasn’t | News & Observer
As Republican-led county election boards began to reject GOP complaints, Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign said Nov. 18 it expected the rulings to be “immediately appealed to the State Board of Elections.” Ten days later, the state board has received only two appeals – both challenging decisions by the Durham County Board of Elections. In those appeals, Republicans are seeking a hand recount and an opportunity to inspect absentee ballot envelopes for signs of fraud. But without more appeals, Republican claims of voter fraud and irregularities in more than 50 counties appear to have fizzled. McCrory trails Democratic challenger Roy Cooper by about 9,700 votes. As of Monday evening, only three counties had not yet held hearings on the complaints, which include allegations that ineligible felons and dead people voted, and that some voters cast ballots in multiple states. Hearings in those counties are scheduled for this week.
North Carolina: Congressional redistricting case to be heard at Supreme Court on Monday | Miami Herald
Lawyers for the state of North Carolina will make oral arguments in the Supreme Court next week, seeking to overturn a lower federal court’s ruling that two of the state’s congressional districts were illegally and intentionally drawn to weaken African-American and minority voting power. It’s expected the high court could hand down a decision in the case next spring or summer. That process, though, could be delayed if the current eight justices opt to have both sides re-argue the case next year, should a ninth justice be confirmed and join the bench. The Supreme Court’s decision in the redistricting case – stemming from a legal challenge to congressional district maps drawn in 2011 by state lawmakers – could have significant political impact, though North Carolina already has redrawn the contested maps and the state used the newly approved districts in this year’s election. Earlier this year, a panel of three federal judges forced North Carolina to postpone congressional primaries and re-do the maps.
Pennsylvania: Jill Stein files petition seeking Pennsylvania presidential election recount | PennLive
An attorney for Green Party candidate Jill Stein filed a petition Monday in state Commonwealth Court asking for a recount of Pennsylvania’s 2016 presidential election. In the last week, Stein raised $6.2 million in order to launch recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all states that President-elect Donald Trump won by about 1 percentage point. In the Keystone State, the businessman received about 70,000 more votes than Clinton. Stein garnered less than 50,000 votes. One of the chief factors cited attorney Lawrence Otter’s petition include problems with the state’s electronic voting system that a computer scientist believes could make it vulnerable to hackers. Others include the computer hacking of the Democratic National Committee and “discontinuity” between pre-election public opinion polls and the final result.
Stein’s camp filed a recount petition last week in Wisconsin, and is expected to do so this week Michigan. Clinton lost each of the state by fewer than 100,000 votes. She lost Pennsylvania by about 71,300 votes. As of Monday evening, Stein had raised nearly $6.4 million dollars, covering the costs of recounts in both Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and is close to her total goal of $7 million goal to cover recount costs in Michigan. But when it comes to the Keystone State, it turns out raising the money might have been the easiest step. As Stein points out herself in a video posted on Sunday, initiating a statewide recount of Pennsylvania’s vote is “especially complicated.” Unlike Wisconsin, Stein can’t simply file a direct request for a recount, leaving just two paths for a potential statewide audit.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein launched a two-pronged bid to re-examine Pennsylvania’s presidential election results Monday. And while even some supporters of the effort say they don’t expect to overturn Donald J. Trump’s win in the state, the effort has already complicated the timeline for certifying the results in Allegheny County. On Monday afternoon, the Stein campaign filed a Commonwealth Court petition on behalf of more than 100 voters, expressing “grave concerns about the integrity of electronic voting machines used in their districts.” The petition, which calls the Nov. 8 election “illegal,” is part of a Green effort to recount ballots in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. “We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system,” said Ms. Stein in a statement Monday. Citing “accusations of irregularities and hacks” of Democratic Party emails and voter-registration databases, she said, “People of all political persuasions are asking if our election results are reliable.”