Pennsylvania, the 2016 battleground state where many counties refused to conduct a presidential recount, has settled a lawsuit with Green Party candidate Jill Stein and state residents, agreeing to have paper ballot-based voting in place by 2020 and a new audit process to verify vote counts before election results become official by 2022. “It’s a major improvement to have paper ballots,” Stein said Thursday. “That’s really critical. And it’s really important that we be watchdogging this, and that the issues of transparency and accountability be paramount. And [that] we constantly be measuring [what unfolds] against a very high bar for transparency and accountability.” The settlement comes two years after one of the most frustrating post-presidential election efforts to attempt to verify the outcome, where an unconventional candidate trailing in pre-election polls, Republican Donald Trump, had, in fact, won the three closest-margin states, according to the preliminary unofficial results in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Immediately following Trump’s surprise victory, neither the Obama administration (with concerns about Russian meddling), nor Hillary Clinton’s campaign, nor Pennsylvania’s Democratic executive branch including Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes, nor its state judiciary replied to the substance of the Green Party’s concerns about verifying vote counts in the most pivotal states.
As Thanksgiving approached in 2016, the Greens’ call for recounts led more than 160,000 people to make online donations exceeding $7.3 million and recruited 10,000 volunteers. Recounts were launched, after paying multimillion-dollar fees, in Wisconsin and Michigan — although the Trump campaign and GOP in Michigan won a court order to shut down that state’s recount. Wisconsin completed its recount, but it was not the statewide hand-count sought by Greens. (Some locales used paper ballot scanners.)