The Philadelphia city commissioners have agreed to recount some ballots cast in the city, as requested by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, but rejected a forensic audit of how those voting machines work. The commissioners, in a brief meeting Thursday, agreed to start recounting on Friday ballots in 75 divisions after Stein’s campaign filed at least three affidavits for each division from voters there asking for a recount. They rejected requests for seven other divisions. Philadelphia has 1,686 voting divisions. Ilann Maazel, an attorney for Stein’s campaign, told the commissioners the state Election Code allows for an examination of the machines. Citing examples of hacking of elections computer systems in Illinois and Arizona, along with the Democratic National Committee’s emails, he said a forensic audit of Philadelphia’s voting machine software was the only way to determine whether they had been hacked. “To examine means to look inside,” Maazel said.
Lawrence Tabas, general counsel for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, countered that Stein’s campaign had an opportunity for a public inspection of the city’s voting machines before the election and chose not to attend.
Tabas cited an Oct. 20 statement from Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes, a Democrat, who said the state’s “voting systems are secure” and the machines were not connected to the internet or each other. “There is no opportunity to hack these machines,” Tabas said. “There is no opportunity to corrupt them.”
Stein’s campaign has not offered proof of election tampering, instead relying on affidavits from computer scientists who put forward the theory that voting machines are vulnerable to hacking.
Tabas also accused the Stein campaign of “cherry-picking” some divisions for recounts. Maazel insisted Stein would support a full recount of every ballot.