PA Recount

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Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

We are in federal court arguing that the state’s byzantine election system creates an unconstitutional barrier to even beginning a recount. The state requires 27,474 voters in 9,158 districts to bring notarized petitions to county election boards, in time for shifting, divergent and sometimes unknown and arbitrary deadlines set by each district. One court demanded that the 100-plus voters who petitioned for a recount post a $1 million bond to move forward with their case. That’s almost $10,000 per voter!

The vast majority of voters in Pennsylvania are forced to use machines with no paper ballot to verify the vote. According to leading computer scientists, these direct recording electronic machines (or DREs) are unreliable, antiquated and easy to hack.

The machines claim, for example, that more than 4,000 voters in Montgomery County , Pa., took the trouble to go to the polls, then supposedly voted for no one in any election. In reality, when these voters in Montgomery selected candidates on the machine, a “no vote” box popped up, meaning thousands of votes were lost inside those machines.

On February 14, 2017 the Stein campaign filed an amended complaint for relief in U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania. 

Read the amended complaint

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 12, 2016

Stein Campaign: Court’s Decision to Block Statewide Recount, Forensic Audit of Voting Machines Disenfranchises PA Voters

New York Times: Recount Rules ‘Arcane and Confusing,’ a ‘Political Horror Show’

As Doubt Over Security, Accuracy of Election Mounts, President Orders ‘Full Review’ of Hacking

(Philadelphia, PA) – The Stein campaign today said it was disappointed in a federal court ruling Monday morning blocking a statewide hand recount and forensic audit of Pennsylvania’s error-prone electronic voting machines, effectively disenfranchising millions of Pennsylvanian voters, especially communities of color. The decision by U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond follows a lawsuit filed by the Stein campaign that read: “[The state’s] incomprehensible, labyrinth, and impossibly burdensome election regime is a disaster for ordinary voters. Were Pennsylvania votes counted accurately? That truth is not difficult to learn: simply count the paper ballots in optical scan districts, and permit forensic examination of the voting systems in [touch-screen] districts.”

“Pennsylvania’s election system is stacked against voters. Both the technology by which voters cast ballots, as well as the byzantine and burdensome laws determining recounts in the state, are a national disgrace,” said Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party candidate for president. “The process underway in Pennsylvania this week is hardly an effective or comprehensive recount. Despite citizens across this state stepping up and demanding their right to verify the vote, every obstacle imaginable – legal, bureaucratic and political – has been thrown in their face. Pennsylvanians’ constitutional and civil rights to have their voices heard and their votes counted have been stripped from right under them.”

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“Understanding the Pennsylvania Recount” by Carl Romanelli

Dr. Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party candidate for President, announced on Monday, Nov. 28 that recount requests were filed by Pennsylvanian voters in more than 260 precincts across the state, with many more precincts expected in the coming days. Stein’s campaign is the first-ever multi-state recount following a presidential election, amid heightened concern from election experts of hacking and voting irregularities.

Overview of Voting in Pennsylvania

  • Approximately two-thirds of voting in PA is done through Direct Record Electronic (DRE) touch-screen machines, which are susceptible to manipulation and hacking. In fact, many states have banned or are phasing out the use of DRE touch-screen machines over security concerns.
  • Approximately one-third of voting in PA is done through optical scan ballots, which are vulnerable toproblems and errors. Computer scientists regularly warn about the vulnerabilities of these machines, including that they can be breached without detection and are prone to errors, including a tendency to misread markings made by voters.
  • Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that relies on DRE machines with no paper ballot or receipt, making a close vote total in the state a “nightmare scenario,” according to voting machine expert Lawrence Norden.

Overview of Legal Filings in Pennsylvania

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.

Federal Court Complaint

Judge Diamond Memorandum on Federal Court Hearing

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 requires 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, Lehigh County, and Chester County. Philadelphia, Allegheny and Lehigh have now completed the recount and a date is to be scheduled for Chester County to begin its recount. Others counties have denied the requests and we have appealed the decisions in Lancaster County and Northampton County. We are also appealing Philadelphia County and Allegheny County’s refusal to allow forensic examination of the voting machines. 

For full details on legal filings across Pennsylvania, see PA Recount Filings.