National: Stymied vote recount exposed flaws in ballot integrity, Jill Stein says | Los Angeles Times

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president, conceded Tuesday that her three-state vote recount drive was “stopped in its tracks,” but said she’d illuminated the need to shore up the security of balloting nationwide. “While the count may have stopped, the movement for a voting system we can trust has been enormously energized,” Stein told reporters on a conference call. Stein raised more than $7 million to seek recounts of the presidential vote in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. President-elect Donald Trump narrowly won those states. Courts have blocked recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Wisconsin recount that was completed Monday wound up widening Trump’s margin of victory there to 22,748 votes out of the 2,976,150 cast.

National: Obama promises retaliation against Russia over hacking during US election | The Guardian

Barack Obama has warned that the US will retaliate for Russian cyberattacks during the presidential election. According to extracts of an interview due to air on National Public Radio on Friday morning, the US president said he was waiting for a final report he has ordered into a range of Russian hacking attacks, but promised there would be a response. “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action,” Obama said. “And we will – at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicised; some of it may not be.” The CIA has judged that the Russian cyber attacks, including the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee, were intended to influence the election in Donald Trump’s favour. The FBI agrees that there was Russian hacking but has not as yet concluded it was intended to favour the Republican contender. Senators from both parties have called for a congressional enquiry, while Trump himself has rejected the reports and his office has derided the CIA.

National: Beleaguered Federal Election Commission enters 2017 as marginalized as ever | Public Radio International

Donald Trump panned “pay-to-play” politics, blasted “rigged” elections and vowed to “drain the swamp” that is Washington, D.C. But Trump has so far forsaken the very government agency Congress created after Watergate to work as the nation’s campaign season Roto-Rooter. The Federal Election Commission’s six commissioners, including the agency’s three Republicans, say neither Trump nor his transition team has contacted them. Trump, meanwhile, appointed Don McGahn, a former FEC chairman and preeminent enemy of campaign finance regulations, as his top White House lawyer. Representatives for the Trump transition declined to answer questions from the Center for Public Integrity about the FEC. The developments together are evidence that the FEC — once a reasonably robust and bipartisan judge of political misdeeds — heads into 2017 even more marginalized than ever before by the very politicians it’s supposed to advise and police.

National: 1.7 million people in 33 states and D.C. cast a ballot without voting in the presidential race | The Washington Post

In every election, there are people who go to the polls to cast a ballot but who don’t vote in every race. Usually, those “undervotes,” as they’re called, happen down-ballot, resulting in fewer votes for, say, county commissioner than, say, president of the United States. But in every election there are also people who skip the presidential ballot for whatever reason. It happens. With 2016 pitting two historically unpopular candidates against one another, we were curious about the extent to which undervoting occurred in the marquee contest this year. We found some evidence that it was occurring a few weeks ago, but set out to tally the undervote more deliberately, pulling in data from every state to figure out how many people skipped the top of the ticket. We were able to compile data from 33 states and D.C. In those states in 2012, there were 754,000 undervotes at the top of the ticket — about 0.9 percent of all ballots cast. In 2016? At least 1.75 million people skipped the presidential contest, 2 percent of the total. In other words, in these states, one out of every 50 people declined to vote in the presidential contest. That undervote varies by state. In only three states was the undervote percentage down. In states where it was up, it was up by an average of 2.5 times as much as in 2012.

National: Loath to Meddle in Election, Obama Delayed Blaming Russia for D.N.C. Hack | The New York Times

The Obama administration spent months deliberating whether to blame Russia for a cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee, with action delayed in part because President Obama did not want to be blamed for politicizing intelligence, the White House said on Wednesday. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said that “it would’ve been inappropriate for White House figures — including the president of the United States — to be rushing the intelligence community to expedite their analysis of the situation.” In particular, he described White House concerns that any statement by Mr. Obama would be viewed as using intelligence to meddle in the election on behalf of the president’s preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton. An F.B.I. agent initially tried in September 2015 to alert officials from the Democratic National Committee that it was the target of a cyberattack by a group of hackers with links to Russian intelligence. But the administration waited until October 2016, more than a year later and after months of damaging leaks, to confirm that intelligence agencies believed the hacks were the product of a Russian intelligence operation.

National: Vladimir Putin ‘personally involved’ in US hack, report claims | The Guardian

US intelligence officials believe that Vladimir Putin was personally involved in hacking during the American election campaign as part of a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, NBC News has claimed. The Russian president personally instructed how material hacked from US Democrats was leaked and otherwise used, the US television network said, quoting two senior officials with access to this information. The officials said they have a “high level of confidence” in this new assessment, NBC reported. Last weekend the Washington Post reported a CIA evaluation that Russia had hacked the emails of US persons and institutions as a way to sway the election in favor of Republican Donald Trump, who defeated Clinton on 8 November.

National: Lindsey Graham Says Moscow Hacked His Presidential Campaign Email Account | International Business Times

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he too was a victim of Russian hackers claiming they compromised his presidential campaign email account in June this year. The Republican lawmaker called for a tougher stance against Moscow. During the 2016 election race, the email account of former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign Chairman John Podesta was hacked and the emails were published on the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The website also leaked thousands of emails allegedly acquired from Russian hackers who compromised several Democratic National Committee (DNC) accounts. In an interview Wednesday with CNN, Graham said: “I do believe the Russians hacked into the DNC. I do believe they hacked into Podesta’s email account. They hacked into my campaign account. I do believe that all the information released publicly hurt Clinton and didn’t hurt Trump. I don’t think the outcome of the election is in doubt. What we should do is not turn on each other but work as one people to push back on Russia.”

National: McMullin: GOP knew about, ignored Russian meddling in election | The Hill

Former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin on Wednesday charged that congressional Republicans were aware of Russian efforts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election but didn’t do anything about it. “Look, the truth is it’s been very obvious for leaders in Washington on the Republican side that the Russians have been undermining our democracy, or did undermine our democracy,” McMullin said at an event hosted by Politio. “I know because I know for a fact that they know this. It was a topic of discussion during the election and they chose not to stand up.” A secret CIA assessment first reported by The Washington Post concluded Russia intervened in the presidential election to help Donald Trump win the presidency. Trump and his aides have since blasted the report, with the president-elect calling it “ridiculous” that Russia would work to help him. McMullin said Republicans are now “sticking their heads in the sand on this issue as they did during the campaign.” “I will tell you, this is not a new issue,” he said.

National: Registration deadlines left thousands of votes uncounted this year | Washington Post

Last week, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) conceded to Democratic challenger Roy Cooper, who had held a small but growing lead over McCrory since Election Day. That lead stands at less than half the number of votes that were tossed out because the voter was unregistered. It’s unlikely that these discarded votes would have changed the election’s outcome — they were disproportionately cast by African Americans and Democrats and would likely have furthered Cooper’s lead. But given the sheer volume of disenfranchised voters, it’s easy to imagine a scenario in which they could flip an election result. In North Carolina and the 37 other states that don’t allow voters to register on Election Day, hundreds of thousands of people saw their votes tossed out because of their registration status. (In 2012, there were a quarter of a million rejected ballots nationwide.)

National: Democratic House Candidates Were Also Targets of Russian Hacking | The New York Times

South Florida has long been a laboratory for some of the nation’s roughest politics, with techniques like phantom candidates created by political rivals to siphon off votes from their opponents, or so-called boleteras hired to illegally fill out stacks of absentee ballots on behalf of elderly or disabled voters. But there was never anything quite like the 2016 election campaign, when a handful of Democratic House candidates became targets of a Russian influence operation that made thousands of pages of documents stolen by hackers from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington available to Florida reporters and bloggers. “It was like I was standing out there naked,” said Annette Taddeo, a Democrat who lost her primary race after secret campaign documents were made public. “I just can’t describe it any other way. Our entire internal strategy plan was made public, and suddenly all this material was out there and could be used against me.” The impact of the information released by the hackers on candidates like Ms. Taddeo in Florida and others in nearly a dozen House races around the country was largely lost in the focus on the hacking attacks against the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. But this untold story underscores the effect the Russian operation had on the American electoral system.

National: Stein campaign details recount spending | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

With recount efforts wrapping up, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein ended her fundraising Tuesday to review ballot tallies in Wisconsin and two other states, saying she will donate any leftover cash to voting rights groups. In the end, Wisconsin’s recount turned up changes to the ballot count of the top four finishers of just six-hundredths of 1%. Meanwhile, Stein’s bid for statewide recounts has been blocked in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Stein’s campaign said it raised $7.3 million for its recount efforts and has up to $7.4 million in outstanding costs, but expects those estimated expenses to decrease as the actual costs are tallied. In raising the money, Stein also collected the names of more than 161,000 donors and 10,000 volunteers that she can tap in the future.

National: RNC keeps close tabs on Electoral College vote | Politico

The Republican National Committee is overseeing an expansive whip operation designed to lock down Donald Trump’s Electoral College majority and ensure that the 306 Republican electors cast their votes for the president-elect. Two RNC sources familiar with the effort said the committee — with the assistance of state Republican parties and the Trump campaign — have been in touch with most of the GOP electors multiple times, and has concluded that only one is a risk to cast a vote against Trump on Dec. 19, when the Electoral College meets. The RNC’s elector head count, the sources emphasized, is standard practice in presidential election years. But this year it also serves as an early-warning system for potentially wayward GOP electors amid an intense push by Democratic electors to convince 37 of their Republican counterparts to jump ship. The Democrats are hoping that dozens of GOP electors — many of whom were picked at local conventions and party meetings dominated by Trump’s opponents — are already primed to resist Trump.

National: Electors demand intelligence briefing before Electoral College vote | Politico

In its first show of public support for efforts questioning the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s victory, Hillary Clinton’s campaign said it is supporting a request by members of the Electoral College for an intelligence briefing on foreign intervention in the presidential election. “The bipartisan electors’ letter raises very grave issues involving our national security,” Clinton’s former campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement on Monday. “Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed. Each day in October, our campaign decried the interference of Russia in our campaign and its evident goal of hurting our campaign to aid Donald Trump,” he said. “Despite our protestations, this matter did not receive the attention it deserved by the media in the campaign. We now know that the CIA has determined Russia’s interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump. This should distress every American.”

National: Senate and House Leaders Call for Inquiry of Russian Hacking in Election | The New York Times

The top two Republicans in Congress said on Monday that they supported investigations into possible Russian cyberattacks to influence the American election, setting up a potential confrontation with President-elect Donald J. Trump in his first days in office. “Any foreign breach of our cybersecurity measures is disturbing, and I strongly condemn any such efforts,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, adding, “The Russians are not our friends.” Mr. McConnell’s support for investigating American intelligence findings that Moscow intervened in the election on Mr. Trump’s behalf could presage friction between the Republicans who control Congress, and who have long taken a hard line against Russia, and the president-elect, who has mocked the findings. Mr. McConnell also went out of his way to address Mr. Trump’s claim that the C.I.A. could not be trusted because of flawed intelligence before the Iraq war. “Let me say that I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community,” Mr. McConnell said, “and especially the Central Intelligence Agency. The C.I.A. is filled with selfless patriots, many of whom anonymously risk their lives for the American people.”

National: Green Party U.S. election recount bid comes to a close | Reuters

The recount effort by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in three U.S. states came to an end on Monday, after weeks of legal wrangling yielded only one electoral review in Wisconsin that favored Republican winner Donald Trump. A federal judge in Pennsylvania rejected Stein’s request for a recount and an examination of that state’s voting machines for evidence of hacking in the Nov. 8 election won by Trump. Meanwhile, Wisconsin election officials said on Monday they had completed their 10-day recount after finding that Trump’s margin of victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton had increased by 131 votes, bringing Trump’s total lead to 22,748. “The final Wisconsin vote is in and guess what – we just picked up an additional 131 votes. The Dems and Green Party can now rest. Scam!” Trump said on Twitter. Stein, who finished fourth, challenged the results in those two states as well as Michigan, where the state’s top court on Friday denied Stein’s last-ditch appeal to keep a recount going. All of those traditionally Democratic strongholds supported Trump over Clinton. Even if all three recounts had taken place, they were unlikely to change the outcome.

National: CIA concludes Russia interfered to help Trump win election, say reports | The Guardian

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in last month’s presidential election to boost Donald Trump’s bid for the White House, according to reports. A secret CIA assessment found that Russian operatives covertly interfered in the election campaign in an attempt to ensure the Republican candidate’s victory, the Washington Post reported, citing officials briefed on the matter. A separate report in the New York Times said intelligence officials had a “high confidence” that Russia was involved in hacking related to the election. The claims immediately drew a stinging rebuke from the president-elect’s transition team, which said in a statement: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” According to the Post’s report, officials briefed on the matter were told that intelligence agencies had found that individuals linked to the Russian government had provided WikiLeaks with thousands of confidential emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and others.

National: Key GOP senators join call for bipartisan Russia election probe, even as their leaders remain mum | The Washington Post

Two Senate Republicans joined demands for a bipartisan probe into Russia’s suspected election interference allegedly designed to bolster Donald Trump as questions continue to mount about the president-elect’s expected decision to nominate a secretary of state candidate with close ties to Russia. Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) — the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee — joined calls by incoming Senate Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and Armed Services ranking Democrat Jack Reed (R.I.) for a thorough, bipartisan investigation of Russian influence in the U.S. elections. Their statement came two days after The Washington Post reported the CIA’s private conclusion that Russia’s activities were intended to tip the scales to help Trump. “Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American,” the four senators said in a statement on Sunday morning. “Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks.”

National: Barack Obama orders ‘full review’ of possible Russian hacking in US election | The Guardian

Barack Obama has ordered US intelligence to review evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election after coming under sustained pressure from congressional Democrats. The review will be one of Obama’s final instructions to the intelligence agencies, which will soon report to Donald Trump, whom congressional Democrats consider the beneficiary of a hack targeting the Democratic National Committee. Lisa Monaco, the White House counterterrorism director, announced what she called a “full review” at a breakfast briefing sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor on Friday. At the White House press briefing later on Friday, Eric Schultz, the deputy White House press secretary, denied the review was “an effort to challenge the outcome of the election”. “We have acknowledged who won the election,” he said. “It wasn’t the candidate the president campaigned for. He has gone out of his way to ensure a smooth transition of power.”

National: A ‘Political Horror Show’ of Recounts, 16 Years After Hanging Chads | The New York Times

The recount of the presidential election ended on Wednesday night as abruptly as it had begun. By Thursday, workers were packing away canvas bags of ballots, board records and tables and chairs. A legal battle halted proceedings before all of Michigan’s votes were counted again, but not before a flood of perplexing peculiarities emerged. An effort to recount the votes here and in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin led by Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, was never viewed as very likely to change Donald J. Trump’s election to the presidency, but it revealed something else in stark terms: 16 years after a different presidential recount in Florida dragged on for five agonizing weeks, bringing the nation close to a constitutional crisis, recounts remain a tangle of dueling lawyers, hyperpartisanship and claims of flawed technology. States still have vastly different systems for calling recounts and for carrying them out. Counting standards are inconsistent from state to state, and obscure provisions, like one in Michigan that deems some precincts not “recountable,” threaten to raise more public doubt about elections than confidence. Some of the most basic questions — is it better to count by hand, or with a machine? — have not been settled.

National: Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House | The Washington Post

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter. Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances. “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

National: Jill Stein: US election recount is vital to reform our broken voting system | The Guardian

The election didn’t end on 8 November, it just morphed into a crisis whose resolution is not in sight. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was impacted by an October surprise delivered by a partisan FBI, but November was not short on surprises, and there may yet be one in December. A little more than a week ago, while people were wondering what it would take to get the Clinton campaign to pursue a recount, Jill Stein’s campaign amazed everyone by taking on the job. Exuberance for the idea immediately inspired small donors to contribute $6.5m in about 48 hours. Stein launched the recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania at the behest of election experts John Bonifaz and J Alex Halderman, who said the irregularities they saw merited further investigation. Those errors include discrepancies in Donald Trump’s favor between the usually reliable exit polls and the votes in several swing states, beyond what some experts consider the margin of error and other anomalies. One they noted was that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7% fewer votes in counties with electronic voting machines than in counties that have paper ballots. In Michigan, more than 80,000 ballots were said to be blank where the votes for president would be marked, twice the number left blank in the previous election, and several times the margin between the two candidates.

National: Wait times at polls in 2016 election improved in several key states, new survey results show |

While many voters reported long lines at polling locations around the country during the 2012 presidential election, this year the overall amount of time people had to wait to vote improved significantly, according to a new survey examining voter experience during the 2016 presidential election. Charles Stewart III, the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science at MIT, today presented the preliminary findings of the Survey on the Performance of American Elections (SPAE), during a conference hosted by the Pew Charitable Trusts on the evolution of voting administration since the 2012 election. Stewart found that in a number of states where voters experienced some of the longest waiting times in the 2012 presidential election—including South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland—there was notable improvement in 2016. In Florida, Stewart found “tremendous improvement in terms of how long people reported that they waited to vote.” The findings show that “all the effort over the last four years that was invested in dealing with problems President Obama identified with lines, those efforts appear to have paid off,” Stewart says.

National: The Next Battles Over Voting Rights | The Atlantic

What happens when an election is declared unlawful? That’s exactly what voters in North Carolina and Wisconsin will soon find out, after courts found multiple congressional and state legislative districts in North Carolina to be racial gerrymanders, and several state legislative districts in Wisconsin to be political ones. The rulings in essence mean North Carolina’s 2012 and 2014 congressional elections were conducted using unconstitutional districts; though its 2016 elections were conducted under redrawn districts, the lines will need rethinking for 2018. And in both states, the rulings mean that the past three state legislative elections were partly unconstitutional, including ones held last month. But these court decisions hardly mean the voting issues in these two states are settled. The complex legal and political fights over voting there have been ongoing over the past six years, and will continue. And those battles have consequences outside the state borders, too. Both states’ cases could soon be argued in front of the Supreme Court, and have the potential to set precedent ahead of a partisan redefinition of electoral laws that appears likely nationwide over the next few years. The Court will consider a number of cases in these states that might reinterpret the Voting Rights Act, redefine gerrymandering, and change the way voting works. So what’s next?

National: U.S. Supreme Court Appears Concerned About Racial Gerrymandering | Governing

A Supreme Court majority on Monday appeared to lean in favor of Democrats in Virginia and North Carolina seeking to rein in what they call racial gerrymandering by Republican-controlled legislatures in those states. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is likely to hold the deciding vote, said he was troubled that Republican leaders drew new election maps by moving more black voters into districts that already had a majority of African-American residents and usually favored black candidates. “I have problems with that,” Kennedy said, suggesting he would question such districts if the “tipping point, the principal motivating factor was race.” If the court’s majority agrees, the ruling would put states, counties and cities on notice that they may not concentrate more black and Latino voters into districts that already routinely elect minority representatives.

National: Votes Miscounted? Your State May Not Be Able to Find Out. | Governing

Green Party Presidential Nominee Jill Stein’s recent requests for recounts in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin highlight how few states routinely verify the accuracy of their vote counts: Twenty-two states do not require a post-election audit, and 15 states do not require paper records that could be compared against electronic vote tallies in a recount. With roughly 22.5 percent of registered voters living in election districts with paperless ballots, the pressure to audit vote counts is mounting. Modern electronic machines are susceptible to tampering, casting doubt on the security of the machines and the certainty of their final vote counts. Following the 2000 presidential election and the resulting legal challenges in Florida over inaccurate counts of votes cast on paper ballots, Congress distributed more than $3 billion to replace manual voting equipment with modern electronic machines. At the time, “there was a feeling among some election officials and state legislatures that it’d be best to avoid paper going forward,” said Larry Norden, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. Instead, states opted for “computerized voting machines that just told you what the totals were and you wouldn’t have to deal with the messy process of trying to figure out voter intent.” But as it’s become clear that without a paper record there’s no way to verify vote tallies, computer scientists and election activists have begun pushing for states to not only keep a paper record but to also institute routine post-election audits. Since 2004, many states passed a law requiring audits.

National: Supreme Court appears in favor of ruling against racial gerrymandering in GOP-controlled states | Baltimore Sun

A Supreme Court majority on Monday appeared to lean in favor of Democrats in Virginia and North Carolina seeking to rein in what they call racial gerrymandering by Republican-controlled legislatures in those states. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is likely to hold the deciding vote, said he was troubled that Republican leaders drew new election maps by moving more black voters into districts that already had a majority of African American residents and usually favored black candidates. Civil rights lawyers and Democrats have contended these “packed” districts have the effect of diluting or weakening the political power of black and Latino voters in other districts and statewide. “I have problems with that,” Kennedy said, suggesting he would question such districts if the “tipping point, the principal motivating factor was race.”

National: The Supreme Court Tackles The Political Riddle Of Race-Based Gerrymandering | FiveThirtyEight

Every 10 years, after the census is complete, legislators in statehouses across the country embark on a time-honored tradition: remapping the boundaries of their states’ voting districts, usually to the benefit of the people doing the remapping. Gerrymandering, the practice of painstakingly engineering districts to bestow an advantage on the politicians in control of the process, has been baked into the American political process since the 18th century — and legal challenges to the weird-looking maps that result have their own long history, too. But not all gerrymanders are created equal, at least from a legal perspective. On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in two gerrymandering cases, in which the plaintiffs claim that after the 2010 census, Republican legislators in North Carolina and both parties in Virginia deliberately packed black voters into a small number of congressional and state legislative districts. The plaintiffs in the two cases, McCrory v. Harris (North Carolina) and Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections (Virginia), claim that by concentrating black voters in a few districts in an effort to protect their majorities, legislators unfairly diluted black voters’ influence. The legislators, on the other hand, say they are merely complying with the Voting Rights Act, which requires states to create districts where minority voters can select their preferred candidate. The question at the heart of these cases is a political riddle: How much mandated racial gerrymandering is too much racial gerrymandering?

National: The recount war: why Stein, Trump supporters are fighting out it in court | CS Monitor

As President-elect Donald Trump and his allies attempt to block recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Jill Stein will bring the battle over the “Rust Belt” to federal court. The Green Party candidate and her lawyers said late Saturday night they will seek an emergency federal court order on Monday for a recount in Pennsylvania. The announcement came hours after Dr. Stein dropped a case in a Pennsylvania court because a state judge ordered the campaign post a $1 million bond for a statewide recount to proceed. Recounts are underway in some Pennsylvania counties and in Wisconsin. They could begin in Michigan next week, barring court action. It is highly unlikely the recounts will upend the results of the presidential election, as Hillary Clinton would need to win all three states to reverse Mr. Trump’s victory Nov. 8. But Stein’s efforts to audit the vote and the Trump side’s attempts to block it are shaping up to be a battle over the integrity of the election. Stein has said the recount is necessary to ensure “the integrity and accuracy of the vote,” suggesting voting machines were susceptible to hacking. Trump and his allies have called the recount effort a “scam,” saying it could undermine or call into the question the votes of millions.

National: Supreme Court hears cases about use of race in redistricting | Associated Press

The Supreme Court is returning to the familiar intersection of race and politics, in a pair of cases examining redistricting in North Carolina and Virginia. The eight-justice court is hearing arguments Monday in two cases that deal with the same basic issue of whether race played too large a role in the drawing of electoral districts, to the detriment of African-Americans. The claim made by black voters in both states is that Republicans packed districts with more reliably Democratic black voters than necessary to elect their preferred candidates, making neighboring districts whiter and more Republican. A lower court agreed with the challengers in North Carolina that two majority-black congressional districts were unconstitutional because their maps relied too heavily on race. The state appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing in part that it made districting decisions based on partisan politics, not race.

National: Trump Backers Go to Court to Block Vote Recounts in 3 States | The New York Times

President-elect Donald J. Trump and his allies have filed separate legal challenges in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in a suddenly robust effort to stop the presidential election recount efforts there. None of the challenges immediately derailed the recounts in those states, but they promised to complicate them with more legal wrangling by Mr. Trump, groups supportive of him, state officials and Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate. Ms. Stein initiated the recounts and a successful fund-raising drive after suggesting that voting machines were susceptible to hacking. On Friday, Mr. Trump filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Appeals in an attempt to block the recount there, which had not yet begun. “If the Bureau of Elections moves forward with the recount, it will waste the State’s scarce resources, create a logistical nightmare for counties across the State, and assure that Michigan’s Electoral College voters will not be counted,” the filing said. Bill Schuette, Michigan’s attorney general, filed a separate lawsuit in a bid to halt the recount, saying that it put the state’s voters at risk of “paying millions and potentially losing their voice in the Electoral College in the process.”