USA Today Op-Ed: Why the Recount Matters

636161237275944496-AP-CLINTON-87068834.JPGOur electoral system is under threat.

There is nothing more important to our American way of life than our democracy. The lifeblood of this nation is the principle that each citizen’s vote is equal when it comes to choosing our president.

But in the age of computerized voting machines and unprecedented corporate influence in our elections, our electoral system is under increasing threat. How can every citizen’s voice be heard if we do not know if every citizen’s vote is counted correctly?

To help ensure it is, I have asked for a recount of the 2016 presidential election in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Our goal is not to change the result of the election. It is to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the vote. All Americans, regardless of party, deserve to know that this and every election is fair and that the vote is verified.

There have been concerns across all political parties about voter irregularities in 2016. Sophisticated hackers targeted the voter registration systems of 20 states and successfully penetrated Illinois’ system. Such incidents are raising serious questions about the vulnerability of our voting data. Worries over the security of touch-screen machines are so serious that several states, like California, Maryland and Virginia, have banned them or are phasing them out.

Indeed, every threat is not a malicious one. Like any other technology, voting machines suffer from glitches and make mistakes. In 2004, for instance, it was only after a recount that news emerged that 90,000 votes were not counted by scanners because the machines were not properly calibrated — and that was just one county in Ohio.

After speaking with cybersecurity and election experts and advocates I chose to pursue recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania because they provide the best way to verify the vote in this election. All three have razor-thin margins, potentially vulnerable voting systems and were the source of heightened concern over irregularities.

I am both humbled and galvanized by the outpouring of support these efforts have received. Our recount campaign has raised more than $6.5 million toward a goal of $9.5 million to cover the recount costs. The funds have come from nearly 140,000 people, with an average donation of $46.

The recounts Americans across the country are calling for will help restore confidence in our elections and trust in our democracy. They’ll also point the way to reforms that safeguard that trust.

Jill Stein ran for president on the Green Party ticket.

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