A federal court ruling (PDF) issued late yesterday in Michigan has effectively stopped the counting of paper ballots in the state following an earlier 3-Republican judge state court ruling that Green Party candidate Jill Stein is not an "aggrieved candidate" and, thus, not entitled to any type of "recount". Moreover, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith finds there is no federally recognized right to a "recount" and, in any case, Stein presented no "evidence of significant fraud or mistake" while asking for one. But, of course, how could she, without being allowed to examine the evidence in question? State Republicans described the suspension of ballot counting as "a victory for the taxpayers and voters of Michigan."
That, even as scores of precincts across the state — hundreds in Detroit alone — were deemed "unrecountable" by election officials under MI's horrible statutes disallowing the hand-count of votes when human error or computer vote tabulator failure leaves Election Night ballot totals off by as little as a single ballot, as compared to the number of names signed in to pollbooks. Even in just three days of counting before it's suspension today, many such precincts were found to be "unrecountable", despite totally unreconciled vote tallies.
"It is an outrage that the voters of Michigan are being denied their right to have their votes properly counted," rails longtime election integrity advocate and attorney John Bonifaz, one of those who initially argued to both Hillary Clinton and Stein that a post-election count was necessary. "Because of a partisan state appeals court decision, Americans will never know the truth about what happened in this election."
Bonifaz was joined by many longtime computer science and voting systems experts, such as Douglas Jones of the University Iowa, who warns today: "In a healthy democracy, elections are run with sufficient transparency that partisans of the losing candidate can convince themselves that they lost fair and square. Recounts in close elections are a necessary part of this transparency, particularly when the margin of victory is exceeded by an unusual number of ballots that were cast without reporting any vote in the election." Jones is referring to the 75,000 ballots in MI said to have no vote for President at all, nearly twice as many undervotes as reported in 2012, despite a 10,000 vote margin between Trump and Clinton in MI, where some 5 million votes were cast. That case is headed to MI's Supreme Court, where Stein is demanding two state Justices recuse themselves after being named by Donald Trump as potentially U.S. Supreme Court nominees.
In Pennsylvania, a similar, if even worse case of lacking "evidence" of fraud has served to block forensic analyses of the otherwise 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting and tabulation systems used across most of the state. Late Wednesday, Stein filed a new court challenge in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), seeking the type of examination that computer science and voting systems experts have been desperately calling for. A similar challenge was rejected yesterday in Philadelphia for…you guessed it…lack of evidence of fraud.
And in Wisconsin, observers of the ongoing counts and retallies are calling for a federal suit — which, I'm told, could be filed on Friday — seeking a statewide hand-count of paper ballots, after a state court previously found a new law passed by Republicans last year allowed most of the largest (and Democratic-leaning) counties to "recount" by the same computer scanners that initially tallied votes (either correctly or incorrectly). The computer tallies, and a number of other concerns revealed to date, have led some of those observers to describe the current process as a "farce", and declare: "The most urgent issue in America right now is to be able to confirm that every vote was counted fairly, accurately, and honestly, and if not, for patriotic Americans to raise bloody hell about it."
And so, we do. Even as the corporate media continue to misreport or ignore altogether what is actually going on in all three longtime "blue" states where just 3 votes per precinct recorded for Clinton instead of Trump would have meant that she, not he, would be considered the President Elect right now. Citizen oversight of election results matter. As simple as that should be, the struggle to achieve any such post-election oversight or verification, in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, is astounding and an outrage.
Also today, speaking of outrages and science ignored by corporate media and elected officials alike: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Trump's shocking choice to head the EPA, on another oil pipeline rupture — this time not far from the contested Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota — and temperatures in the Arctic are now from 35 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit warmer today than they normally are this time of year.
You can find Brad's previous editions here.
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