Barriers against citizen oversight of 2016 Presidential election results continue, even as the campaign of the Green Party's Jill Stein works with tens of thousands of citizens to try and overcome them in three different states where she is seeking "recounts". (For the record, if you're wondering, The BRAD BLOG generally uses quotes around the word "recount" to denote post-election hand-counts of ballots which have never actually been counted by human beings, but rather, only tabulated by computers during the official tally. It's impossible to know whether those computers actually tallied votes accurately unless paper ballots are examined by hand.)
The Wisconsin Election Commission informed the Stein campaign (and independent candidate Rocky De La Fuente, who has also filed for a "recount" there) yesterday that she will have to pay $3.5 million to even begin counting paper ballots in the state. I've confirmed with her campaign that she intends to do so, even after state election officials had originally estimated the fees to be $1 million for a statewide recount. That, even as state law has recently changed to allow counties to use computers to "recount" ballots, rather than public hand-counts. As we've long reported, similar barriers are often erected to block citizen oversight of elections, begging the question again: What good are hand-marked paper ballots if nobody is actually allowed to count them?
But the situation is far worse in Pennsylvania, where voters in most of the state are forced to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems and the state's arcane "recount" statutes require tens of thousands of voters to file affidavits (3 in each precinct) asking for such counts. Longtime election integrity champion and VotePA.us founder Marybeth Kuznik joins us with details on what is now going on in the Keystone state towards that end, and to help explain the insanity of the state's unverifiable voting systems and the near-incomprehensibility of its "recount" laws.
"Pennsylvania election law is so convoluted," she tells me, while explaining the requirements for three voters in each of the state's 9,163 precincts (that's 27,489 voters!) to file a complaint in order to have a statewide voter-initiated count. She also explains the second route towards such a count, which requires 100 voters to file in the Commonwealth Court.
In either case, since much of the state uses unverifiable touch-screens, there is often nothing at all to count, even if a count is allowed! "They'll print out the Election Night tapes. They'll bring out some sort of a printout from the central tabulator. Usually they just bring out results. They look at the precinct tape, they look at the precinct printout, they go 'Hmm, that looks the same to me!', and everything's good. That's the recount!," Kuznik explains. "The thing is, of course it's going to be 'good'. The same software that counted on Election Night and printed out that tape is what's counting and printing out this result paper that they compare. It's nuts. It's just crazy."
As you'll hear, it's even worse than I've described it here. But, that's how it still works (or doesn't) in Pennsylvania, after all of these years, and even in light of a forensic analysis by computer scientists of just one Pennsylvania county voting system in 2011, after vote-flips were reported and candidates received zero votes in several elections in heavily-Republican Venango County. (See our exclusive special report and documents here.) That landmark study found, among other disturbing things, as we reported at the time: "unexplained, out-of-sequence activity log entries in the computer tabulation system, indications that the system was mounted several times with a 'USB flash drive' device, and, perhaps most troubling, evidence that the system was repeatedly accessed by an unidentified remote computer, for lengthy periods of time, on 'multiple occasions.'"
Those same systems — and even worse ones — are still used today across the state in 2016, as the fate of the world relies on them. Yes, as we've been warning you for more than a decade: "It's just crazy."
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