Below are some of the legal filings that have been made so far in regards to the Pennsylvania Recount efforts. We will try to keep this page up-to-date but things are moving fast!
Update: April 20, 2018
Defendants Renewed Motion to Dismiss—Mootness
In this document, the Commonwealth is renewing its request to dismiss the Stein lawsuit. It claims that PA elections, and recount procedure, do not violate constitutional rights of speech, due process and equal protection. It also argues PA elections are safe, and not hackable. It further states that since the Trump Administration has moved election equipment to DHS supervision, as “essential infrastructure” is a development that should provide more confidence in the security of elections. The state argues that a forensic examination of machine software is a moot issue, as the election has been decided.
This document renews our request for the court to intervene, as PA elections, and recount procedure, remain as flawed today, as the were when the action was started. Our attorneys directly respond to the weak claims made by PA in its attempts to have this suit dismissed. Our case is not “moot” because the court can still grant the relief we request. Our document explains that the issue in dispute is PA elections practices, procedure and equipment present constitutional barriers, and are not about the outcome of the 2016 presidential result. It also demands the court prevent PA from destroying electronic results of the 2016 election, as that would allow PA to render aspects of our claims moot, through the Commonwealth’s destruction of evidence.
A Letter our attorneys have sent to the court regarding the candid admissions of former Deputy Secretary of Elections and Administration (PA) in an NPR report (2/24/2018) of election systems. In the story, the former official admits PA equipment is vulnerable and insecure, unverifiable, and in urgent need of replacement. This is precisely our argument, as well.
This is a supporting statement from law professor and election cyber security expert, Candice Hoke. Dr. Hoke offers her expert opinion on PA election equipment. She points out the inadequacy of the Wolfe Administration’s “Directive,” regarding “paper trail.” Paper ballots are required for safe, secure and verifiable elections, and that is not the same as a paper trail.
Federal Court Action: We have asked the federal court to order a paper recount of optical scan areas and a forensic audit of the DRE machines that have no paper trail because Pennsylvania’s election system violates voters’ constitutional rights. We filed our Complaint on December 5 and made a motion for an expedited/emergency hearing for a preliminary injunction on December 6.
The lawsuit claims that Pennsylvania voters’ constitutional rights are violated because they cannot know whether their votes really count. Pennsylvania uses unsecure voting machines that do not let voters confirm that their vote has been properly recorded, and Pennsylvania’s process for seeking a recount is so fundamentally unfair as to be illusory. The court denied our request for a preliminary injunction – an emergency order that would have required an immediate recount in counties throughout the state. Because Pennsylvania will certify its electors on December 13, it is not practical to keep pursuing that emergency relief. Although we were denied emergency relief, the case and the effort for long-term reform of Pennsylvania’s unfair system are still active.
On December 12th, US District Judge Paul Diamond Rejected Stein’s Request for Injunctive Relief. See Judge Diamond’s Memorandum here.
Thank you for an amazing group recount effort, the likes of which has never been seen in the history of Pennsylvania.
Petitions for Recounts: The campaign has mobilized over 2,000 concerned voters in more than 300 election districts in some 20 counties to request recounts. Pennsylvania state law requiring three voters in each precinct to submit an affidavit requesting a recount for that precinct. Some counties have granted the requests, including Philadelphia County, Allegheny County (more on Allegheny below), Lehigh County, and Chester County and recounts will be happening in those counties. Others counties have denied the requests and we have appealed the decisions in Lancaster County and Northampton County. We are also appealing Philadelphia County’s refusal to allow forensic examination of the voting machines. A number of petition requests are still open with upcoming hearings (including Bucks County, Columbia County, and Somerset County), so we will be sending lawyers to fight for the right to a recount.
In Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, we successfully fought back the Republican attempt to derail the Allegheny County Board of Election’s decision to conduct a recount.
We had requested that the Allegheny County Board of Elections allow leading computer experts to conduct a forensic examination of the electronic voting machines. The Board refused, without responding to our argument that candidates are entitled to this kind of examination under the law.Voters throughout Allegheny County mobilized with incredible passion and purpose to ensure that their votes counted. Unfortunately, both elections officials and the courts thwarted their efforts to confirm that unreliable, unsecure electronic voting machines were working properly. The campaign was proud to support those efforts and to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with voters for election integrity.
In Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, we sought a recount and the right to inspect the DRE machines. The Buck County Board of Elections opposed us. A hearing is scheduled for December 6 at 9am.
In Delaware County, the County denied the recount request and decided that the petitions were filed too late. We appealed, however, a judge ruled that the recount petitions filed by voters with the Board of Elections were too late, even though the County admitted that it never took the legally required step to trigger the deadline. Unfortunately, this ruling cannot be appealed, so there will not be a recount in Delaware County.
In Philadelphia County, we argued to the Philadelphia Board of Elections that it should permit a forensic examination of the DRE voting machines. When the Board of Elections denied our request, we appealed the denial to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. A hearing is scheduled for 1:30pm on December 6 concerning whether a forensic examination of the DRE voting machines should occur.
Contest Proceeding in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court: The campaign mobilized over 100 concerned voters to ask a Pennsylvania state court for a statewide recount, citing potential errors, tampering and hacking of the election. That lawsuit, called a contest proceeding, was filed on November 28. On December 2, the Court refused the voters’ request to delay the case until the ongoing recounts provided more information and demanded that these individual voters had to pay a $1 million bond. On December 3, the voters withdrew their petition, explaining, ““Your Honor: Petitioners are regular citizens of ordinary means. They cannot afford to post the $1,000,000 bond required by the Court. Accordingly, the petition is withdrawn.” The withdrawal of the petition does not affect the recounts that are currently happening in several counties.