With a reported margin of just over 10,000 votes for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in Michigan — out of some 5 million votes tallied in the state — the ability to hand-count tens of thousands of votes in Green Party candidate Jill Stein's federal court-ordered (PDF) "recount" may be at risk of "chaos" under state law, thanks to the failure of computerized paper-ballot optical-scanners which may have mistallied ballots in some fashion on Election Day.
Hopefully, hand-counts can reconcile mismatches between poll book signatures and computer printouts from "610 of 1,680" precincts in Wayne County, which includes heavily Democratic-leaning Detroit, where "392 of 662" or 59% of precincts may now be uncountable. That's a major concern, obviously, not just due to the state's razor thin margin, but also, as Stein points out today, since some 75,000 ballots — until now, completely unexamined by human beings — were reported by the computers to have no vote at all for President. That's a 70% increase from 2012 in the number of ballots reported to have Presidential undervotes, a number that is more than seven-fold the margin of votes that could flip the state from Trump to Clinton.
All of that as Team Trump ups their efforts in both state and federal court to stop the counting in Michigan entirely and as Stein pushes back in both court cases, including a move to force the recusal of two state Supreme Court judges named by Trump as potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees.
Also, while a recent change to state law by Republicans in Wisconsin has resulted in many of the largest counties simply running paper ballots through the same computer scanners that tallied them (either correctly or incorrectly, who knows?) the first time in that state's "recount", it's not just Republicans who prefer unverified computer tallies over hand-counts. In Vermont, the will of the voters may never been known in two exceedingly close state legislative races, thanks to a 2014 state law supported Democrats, requiring that computers, not people, tally ballots during ongoing "recounts" there. Two incumbent Democratic lawmakers who supported the new law may now be undone by it, as one is set to lose a "recounted" race by just six votes, and the other is facing a tie, depending on whether two questionably marked paper ballots were tallied by the scanner or not. (I wonder how they could figure out if they were?)
All of that may be good news to the Washington Post, however, which published an op-ed yesterday explaining why the authors believe, in contravention of computer scientists and voting systems experts, that "computers are better than humans at counting ballots." Of course, to know that for certain, the authors suggest…um…counting ballots by hand.
Also on today's BradCast: Al Gore meets with Donald Trump to discuss Climate Change and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the weekend's victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, on Trump reportedly eying Native American lands for energy development and Exxon Mobile's CEO for Sec. of State, and a bit of good renewable energy news out of Texas (of all places).
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