The Latest on the Pennsylvania Vote Recount Effort
Update, 1:40 p.m.: According to Jill Stein’s campaign, by Monday afternoon recount requests were filed in more than 100 districts.
“After a presidential election tarnished by the use of outdated and unreliable machines and accusations of irregularities and hacks, people of all political persuasions are asking if our election results are reliable,”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. “We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system.”
Stein also said Monday she’d filed a legal petition with more than 100 voters seeing a recount in the state.
Earlier: Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein says she expects vote challenges to be filed today in Pennsylvania, the last day to request a recount of the state’s 2016 presidential election results.
Stein, who rallied with Cornel West under I-95 in South Philadelphia during the DNC, has raised $6.2 million for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. The effort began after computer experts said they had found evidence that vote counts in those three states may have been manipulated or hacked.
But the process is complicated — at least in Pennsylvania. Stein can’t file for a recount for herself; instead, three voters from each voting district must request one. Per Billy Penn, Stein would need about 30,000 volunteers for this effort — and in some counties, the recount filing deadline has passed already. Stein could also file a lawsuit, but would need evidence that election fraud was “probable.” A lawsuit, then, seems like the likeliest avenue to force an audit of election results. But it seems unlikely to succeed barring evidence of fraud emerging.
And unfortunately for those who support Stein’s efforts, almost 80 percent of Pennsylvania’s counties use voting machines that do not leave a paper audit trail. Marian Schneider, Pennsylvania’s deputy secretary for elections and administration, told NBC in October that there’s little chance of hacking the vote totals, because the computers used to program voting machines are not connected to the Internet.
Donald Trump won 2,935,592 votes in Pennsylvania to Hillary Clinton’s 2,864,549 — a spread of 71,043 votes. The Clinton campaign has said it will back the recount effort in Wisconsin, and presumably in Pennsylvania as well. The recount effort has another unlikely supporter: the president-elect himself, who yesterday claimed without evidence that “millions” voted illegally on November 8th. He also said there was “serious voter fraud” in three additional states: California, Virginia, and New Hampshire. Again, he offered no evidence, but it’s clear he does back efforts to double-check the vote. Why he’d want to contest an election he won is not clear.
We’ll know more after today’s deadline. Stein continues to ask for volunteers in the state. Speaking to Philadelphia magazine last week, Philadelphia attorney and wonk Adam Bonin said he didn’t think much of recount efforts in the state. “If there were any real question,” he said, “I and every Democratic election law attorney in the state would be convening teams to go to every county and every table in the commonwealth to find out what happened here.”