Neither Jill Stein nor Hillary Clinton are realistically expecting the outcome of the 2016 presidential election to change if there are statewide recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Instead, Stein is pushing for contentious and exhaustive recount efforts in each state in part to draw attention to the integrity of the nationwide voting system after a campaign season chock-full of foreign interferences, cyberattacks on the Democratic Party and even a purported hack on electronic voting machines. Stein raised nearly $6.3 million in donations toward her goal of filing for recounts in three key battleground states where Trump won by small margins. “After a presidential election tarnished by the use of outdated and unreliable machines and accusations of irregularities and hacks, people of all political persuasions are asking if our election results are reliable,” Stein said in a statement on Monday. “We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system.”
I see you have questions about how elections work in the United States. Up until now, you probably haven’t thought much about how elections work and why someone’s experience in Massachusetts could be so different from yours in Alabama, or Florida, or Georgia, or Arkansas, or Montana, or Michigan, or Nevada, or California. You want to know why we’re not all doing the same things the same way. You want to know why there is no federal standard for ballot design or a national voting system. You want to fix things. Welcome. I’m glad you’re here. Let’s lift the curtain a bit on how U.S. elections get done. That should help you be involved in the right way at the right time to make elections better. From the 40,000-foot level, elections look roughly the same from state to state. This might lead you to think that because we end up with one result that the way elections are administered is pretty much the same across the country. But it’s not. If you move from Washington State to New York State, your experience and the process for registering, getting access to a ballot, and actually marking the ballot will be different, from one to the other.
National: Senators call for declassification of files on Russia’s role in US election | The Guardian
Seven Democratic and Democratic-aligned members of the Senate intelligence committee have hinted that significant information about Russian interference in the US presidential election remains secret and ought to be declassified. The seven senators, including the incoming ranking member Mark Warner of Virginia, wrote to Barack Obama to request he declassify relevant intelligence on the election. They did not directly accuse the Russian government or President-elect Donald Trump, a Republican, of wrongdoing in the letter. “We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian government and the US election that should be declassified and released to the public. We are conveying specifics through classified channels,” wrote Warner and his colleagues Ron Wyden of Oregon, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and independent Angus King of Maine.
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein’s call for a recount has won her headlines and money, both of which could prove beneficial to the politician and her party going forward. Stein’s call for a recount in Wisconsin might have come as a surprise to some observers. She won just 1 percent of the vote in the state and finished a distant fourth. Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won the national popular vote, finished a close second to Republican Donald Trump in the Badger State. But it wasn’t her party asking for the recount. It was Stein, who has repeatedly shown a willingness to step into the public limelight to battle with both major parties. Stein hit the Clinton machine for piggy-backing on her recount efforts and for failing to take the threat of election hacking seriously. Seen as largely an afterthought during the presidential race, Stein is receiving heavy news coverage from the media for her efforts. And by tapping into Democratic angst over Trump’s surprise victory over Clinton, she’s building a fundraising apparatus greater than she had before.
It has been nearly a month since Donald J. Trump beat Hillary Clinton to win the presidency. But efforts continue in three battleground states to take another look at the election results. On Thursday, Wisconsin is set to begin the labor-intensive task of reviewing nearly three million ballots in a recount across all of the state’s 72 counties. Michigan is likely to follow suit starting on Friday. And in Pennsylvania, there are persisting legal challenges to the presidential results as well. It is extremely unlikely that this attempt — spearheaded by Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate — will prompt any of these states to flip to Mrs. Clinton, as Mr. Trump leads by a combined margin of around 100,000 votes. Mrs. Clinton would need to be declared the winner in all three states to reverse the Electoral College outcome.
Editorials: The US election recount is a long shot – but the alternative is catastrophe | Rebecca Solnit/The Guardian
When big changes and dangers arise, you have to think big. You don’t put out a forest fire with a glass of water. Thinking small can prevent you from even recognizing trouble, let alone your options for overcoming it. There’s never been a time when thinking big matters more than now. Many across the United States are now trying to figure out how to survive Trump, but it may still be possible to stop him. His regime is not yet inevitable. It’s a long shot, but one worth trying, the way someone diagnosed with a disease with a 3% survival rate might want to do what it takes to try to be part of the 3%. You don’t get there if you give up at the outset. Trump represents a catastrophe on a scale many seem to have trouble grasping, an attack on what remains democratic and uncorrupted in our old and messy system of government, a threat to international stability, to efforts to address climate change, and to human rights at home and around the world. Is it possible to prevent him from taking power? Why not explore the wildest possibilities, when the alternative is surrendering to the worst? It may be very possible – but only if we imagine it is possible and work to make the possible the actual.
A report by the Louisiana secretary of state’s office on the use of a Jefferson Parish voting machine reserved for “VIPs” has been turned over to the district attorney’s office. The state office would not release the findings of its election compliance unit on Tuesday (Nov. 29), however, citing a Louisiana law that shields “records pertaining to pending criminal litigation or any criminal litigation which can be reasonably anticipated” until the case is closed. The machine had been kept in a private conference room at Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco’s office in Elmwood during the early voting period leading to the Nov. 8 elections. It was not available to the general public. DiMarco said he and some of his staff let certain people use it to avoid waiting in line.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein on Wednesday filed a petition for a full hand recount of presidential votes in Michigan, the last state to officially certify its election results this week. The state on Monday certified that President-elect Donald Trump had officially won by slightly more than 10,000 votes, a 0.22% margin. Ms. Stein, who has also successfully called for a recount in Wisconsin and has filed a lawsuit seeking one in Pennsylvania, alleges that machines used to count the votes in these states could have been hacked or tampered with. Barring a court challenge by Mr. Trump, the recount in Michigan is expected to start Friday. At a press conference, Ms. Stein’s campaign said it had paid $970, 000 at the time that the petition was filed. Her recount efforts have raised over $6.6 million, and Ms. Stein has said her campaign will shoulder the cost of the process. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said in a statement Wednesday that there is “no evidence of hacking or fraud, or even a credible allegation of any tampering.” She added that Michigan taxpayers could be paying up $4 million, in addition to the $1 million that Ms. Stein will have to foot.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein formally filed for a recount in Michigan Wednesday, the third state on her list. “After a presidential election tarnished by the use of outdated and unreliable machines and accusations of irregularities, people of all political persuasions are asking if our election results are reliable,” Stein said Wednesday. “We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system. We need to verify the vote in this and every election so that Americans can be sure we have a fair, secure and accurate voting system.” Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said in a statement Wednesday that it is “unusual” for a candidate that received such a small share of the vote — Stein got just 1 percent in Michigan — to request a recount, “especially when there is no evidence of hacking or fraud, or even a credible allegation of any tampering.”
Michigan Republican Party leaders warned Tuesday a massive and costly statewide recount of the presidential election could drag on for weeks and cost the state its final say in who occupies the White House next year. Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s recount request, expected to be filed Wednesday afternoon, will trigger a hurried sprint to meet a Dec. 13 federal deadline for Michigan to declare a final winner in the presidential contest, GOP officials said. “If we don’t have this process over by Dec. 13, we certainly jeopardize Michigan’s electors and risk disenfranchising all of Michigan’s voters from the election,” said Eric Doster, general counsel for the Michigan Republican Party. State election officials say their reading of 19th century federal law shows the state has to finalize the election results six days before the Dec. 19 meeting of the Electoral College, when each state’s electors cast the final vote for president. Michigan gets 16 electors who are supposed to cast their votes in the state Senate’s chamber.
Most Michigan voters would have to present an ID card for their votes to count under legislation that popped up suddenly during Michigan’s lame-duck session. Currently voters who are registered but do not have a voter ID can fill out an affidavit attesting to their identity and then vote. House Bills 6066, 6067 and 6068, introduced Tuesday, would change that. Under the bills a voter without ID would fill out a provisional ballot. That ballot would only be counted if the voter returned to their clerk’s office within 10 days to show either a photo ID or present evidence they are either indigent and can’t afford an ID or have a religious objection to having their photo taken. “I can’t emphasize how simple this is. If you want your vote to count, you must prove your identity,” said Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, who sponsored the bills. The bills also allow indigent voters to receive free birth certificates and IDs.
After withdrawing his presidential recount petition in Wisconsin, “Rocky” Roque De La Fuente almost immediately filed for a recount in Nevada. De La Fuente was the first to file for a recount in Wisconsin but withdrew his petition when Jill Stein duplicated his effort and the estimated cost of the recount soared to more than $3.5 million. He has already posted payment for the recount in Nevada. “I’ve made this decision for a number of reasons,” said De La Fuente. “First, Wisconsin obviously made a recount cost-prohibitive for a citizen with standing. Jill (Stein) was able to tap into a Democratic base of donors to raise more than $6.2 million in just a few days, so she can afford to pursue the issue there.”
Acceding to the wishes of the embattled Gov. Pat McCrory, the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Wednesday ordered a recount of roughly 94,000 votes in Durham County, a move that could help resolve a contested governor’s race here that remains undecided three weeks after Election Day. Mr. McCrory, a Republican, has trailed by a thin margin in the unofficial statewide count since the Nov. 8 election. He has declined to concede the race to his opponent, Roy Cooper, a Democrat and the state’s attorney general. Mr. McCrory’s campaign has raised questions about voting irregularities in dozens of counties, but Democrats have dismissed them as frivolous or inaccurate. Until Wednesday night, many of the rulings of the state elections board and 100 county boards — all of which are controlled by Republicans — have tended to go against Mr. McCrory. Mr. Cooper’s campaign and liberal groups have been urging Mr. McCrory to concede.
The State Board of Elections voted 3-2 along party lines Wednesday to order a machine recount of 90,000 votes in Durham County, backing a request from Republicans and Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign. The three Republicans on the board voted for the recount, saying that the late addition of the 90,000 votes to the statewide tally on election night constituted an “irregularity.” The two Democrats on the board opposed the recount, arguing that no evidence suggested any mistakes in counting Durham votes. “What harm would it do to scan these votes and count them?” said board member and retired Judge James Baker, a Republican. “It’s not likely to change anything. There was enough of an irregularity to make people wonder.”
The Sunday after the presidential election, Gregg Phillips, founder of a health care analytics firm in Austin, Texas, tweeted, “We have verified more than three million votes cast by non-citizens. We are joining @truethevote to initiate legal action.” The next day, Phillips’s assertion, based solely on his tweet, was splashed across the InfoWars site – run by Austin conspiracy theorist Alex Jones – that has become an agitprop site for President-elect Donald Trump, with the headline, “Report: Three Million Votes in Presidential Election Cast by Illegal Aliens. Trump may have won popular vote.” It was quickly picked up by the Drudge Report, a premier aggregator of the web with its own pro-Trump bent, which changed “Report” to “Claim.” Phillips, a former executive with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and prolific tweeter on voting fraud, was astonished his tweet was given such prominence. No one had called him.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein will not appeal a judge’s rejection of her lawsuit to force a hand recount of nearly 3 million presidential ballots in Wisconsin, clearing the way for machines to be used in the statewide effort beginning Thursday. Also Wednesday, Stein filed another recount petition in Michigan and the Republican Party of Wisconsin filed a federal elections complaint against both Stein and Democrat Hillary Clinton. The complaint alleges that Stein — who received only a small share of the vote — is improperly fundraising to pay for a recount that primarily benefits Clinton, the second-place finisher behind GOP President-elect Donald Trump. The fundraising amounts to improper coordination between the two campaigns, the complaint to the Federal Elections Commission alleges. “Clinton stands as the only actor that would benefit from a recount taking place in Wisconsin or elsewhere,” the complaint reads. “As outlined below, the Clinton campaign’s direct involvement in the recount process, which was announced well before the recount itself was paid for and finalized, demonstrates a clear link between the actions of the Stein campaign and the strategic goals of Hillary for America.” The complaint is based on the public actions and statements of the Clinton and Stein campaigns and not on any inside information.
Even if the recount of Wisconsin’s election results doesn’t change a single vote, the scrutiny could have one useful side effect: Spotlighting how scattershot the American voting system has become. Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein is leading the effort for a recount after claims surfaced that there was statistical evidence the state’s results were suspicious. Many supporters of the recount worry that Russian hackers might have thrown the contest to President-elect Donald Trump, who won the state by 24,081 votes out of nearly 3 million cast. Skeptics have thrown cold water on the claim, arguing that the data does not support this claim in any convincing way. But right now it’s almost impossible to disprove the suspicion that voting machines were somehow compromised because Wisconsin’s voting machines are so inconsistent from one location to the next.
Australia: Voter ID: The bombshell recommendation that brings an American problem to NSW | The Canberra Times
During the final sitting week of the NSW Parliament for the year, dominated by furious debate over legislation removing Independent Commission Against Corruption chief Megan Latham from her job, a parliamentary committee tabled a report containing an equally contentious measure. The report on the 2015 state election from the joint standing committee on electoral matters suggested a range of improvements to NSW voting rules based on the most recent poll. It contains a bombshell recommendation: that NSW voters be forced to produce photo identification before they are able to cast a ballot.
The Gambia has banned the internet and international phone calls as presidential elections are held in the West African state.
Officials have also banned demonstrations to prevent unrest after the elections. Estate agent Adama Barrow is challenging President Yahya Jammeh, who says divine intervention will give him a fifth term. The Gambia has not had a smooth transfer of power since independence. Observers say Mr Barrow, who according to British news reports was once a security guard in the UK high street store Argos, has generated fresh enthusiasm among opposition supporters. Human rights groups accuse Mr Jammeh, who has in the past claimed he can cure Aids and infertility, of repression and abuses.
A group of state-sponsored Russian hackers could disrupt the Germany´s 2017 elections, as it was stated by the head of the country’s Federal Intelligence Service and president of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Bruno Kahl. Apparently, the hackers could sabotage the political event and undermine the democratic process by several methods that include the spreading of misinformation, hacking government emails and execute cyber strikes to elicit political uncertainty. According to the International Business Times, the spy boss claimed that the Russian hackers are interested in discredit the democratic process as much as they can, no matter of who benefits the most. The reason why he ensured that the cyberattacks could come is because he already witnessed a targeted email spoofing campaigns that were developed by foreign hackers , who he admitted having received information that pointed out that they could possibly come from Russia, which wouldn’t be a surprise considering that that kind of criminal actions are tolerated or desired by the Kremlin.
Somalia’s presidential elections, scheduled to begin this week, have been postponed for a third time, the electoral body said Monday. Omar Mohamed Abdulle, head of Somalia’s electoral body, said elections slated for Wednesday will not happen as planned. Abdulle did not offer a new date, but said the next president will be elected before the end of this year. Somalia’s parliament members will elect the new president. However, parliamentary elections to elect new lawmakers have not been completed in all regions of the country. The parliamentary voting was marred by irregularities and corruption, and Somalia’s electoral body is investigating allegations of election malpractice. Somalia’s auditor general, Nur Jimale Farah, told VOA’s Somali service earlier this month that some of the parliamentary seats were bought by the highest bidder.