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.Full Article: So, what does it mean for there to be an election recount? | Public Radio International.
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.”Full Article: Voting rights advocates brace for ‘biggest fight of our lifetime’ during Trump administration - The Washington Post.
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.”Full Article: Anti-Trump forces launch attack on Electoral College - POLITICO.
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.Full Article: Michigan presidential recount could cost taxpayers nearly $1M.
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.Full Article: Independent candidate files for recount of sample of Nevada presidential ballots | Las Vegas Review-Journal.
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.Full Article: Republicans push back: Debate over seeking recount in states won by Clinton | Fox News.
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.Full Article: Republicans Looking to Tighten N.H. Election Laws | New Hampshire Public Radio.
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.Full Article: North Carolina Ordered to Hold Special Elections After Redrawing Districts.
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.Full Article: NC GOP: Durham recount could resolve governor’s election within days | News & Observer.
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.Full Article: Court hearing set to consider Pa. vote recount | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
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.Full Article: Judge refuses to order hand recount of votes in Wisconsin - Chicago Tribune.
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.Full Article: Jill Stein gets her recount bill - POLITICO.
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.Full Article: Stein sues after Wisconsin refuses to order hand recounts.
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.Full Article: French Election Hints at a European Shift Toward Russia - The New York Times.
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.Full Article: German spy chief says Russian hackers could disrupt elections | World news | The Guardian.
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.Full Article: Italy is having a referendum next week. It may spark a major European crisis. - The Washington Post.
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.Full Article: Security experts join Jill Stein's 'election changing' recount campaign | US news | The Guardian.
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.Full Article: Electronic voting under scrutiny as computer experts lobby for recounts in swing states - Washington Times.
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.Full Article: Russia probably didn't hack US election – but we still need audits, experts say | US news | The Guardian.