(Jan. 18, 2017) — As I start this article, I must confess that I am on the #TrumpTrain. I believe the Jill Stein inspired presidential ballot recounts were part of a multi-faceted strategy to de-legitimize President-elect Trump’s election – a motive I do not support. However, politics aside, I love recounts! From an election security perspective, a recount is almost always going to yield results that will uncover and highlight weaknesses in the system. The recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada did not disappoint.
Wisconsin: In Wisconsin, some voters cast votes on electronic voting machines, but voters primarily use paper ballots which tally ballots on optical scanners. The entire state was recounted, some by hand and some with the original voting equipment. No fraud was uncovered. There were some adjustments to the totals and ultimately President-elect Donald Trump gained a total of 162 votes. This is a minuscule variation in a state that cast 2,787,820 ballots.
According to Elections.wi.gov, “The biggest reason for these small differences between the unofficial results on Election Night, the counties original canvasses and the recount results is human error,” said WEC Administrator Michael Haas. “Some voters do not follow the instructions and mark their ballots correctly so the machines can count them. In the tight deadlines to report the results, election officials make math mistakes, we forget things, we accidentally transpose numbers.”
Michigan: Michigan is 100% paper ballot. The state has simple, direct laws about how voted and counted ballots must be sealed with a metal seal that has a number to track it. If a ballot box is not sealed properly or if the ballot total is different than the ballots cast, that precinct cannot be recounted. In Michigan, audits can include the entire voting process, not just the votes cast.
The Michigan audit showed voting irregularities in Detroit where the optical scanners in 392 precincts had more votes than voters. Except in about 20 precincts, the difference was 1-2 votes per precinct. This is a relatively small number of actual votes. Still, 392 of Detroit’s 662 precincts, which is nearly 60%, tabulated more ballots than voters. Systemically, something is wrong when there is a 60% error rate! Detroit News reported that Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office announced an audit in the 20 precincts with the highest discrepancies.
Most of the discrepancies will be attributed to basic machine or human error. There were multiple reports of malfunctioning machines counting the same ballot more than once when the ballot had an under-vote or over-vote error message. In another discrepancy, the ballots were left in the original ballot box and not correctly sealed in the ballot transport case.
The positive side of these findings is that the recount alerted Michigan to weaknesses in their system. Michigan legislators do care about election integrity, so I would expect positive changes in the law to take place.
Pennsylvania: While Pennsylvania does not require a paper ballot, some of the election jurisdictions do use paper ballots. Pennsylvania has at least 8 different voting systems used across the state and, much like Illinois, the overall administration of the vote is decentralized into many counties.
Before the court stopped the audit, 75 Philadelphia voting districts (precincts) were audited with no change in totals. Also, Pennsylvania has an automatic statewide 2% post-election audit of the voting machines. Statewide, this post-election audit was conducted without the reporting of any unusual discrepancies.
Jill Stein did ask for an audit of the computer code. This request was shut down without any chance of success. Statements from computer experts assert that it would be very difficult to find malicious code in hundreds of thousand lines of code. In the specific instance of Pennsylvania, with the state’s many different election jurisdictions and varied voting systems, establishing a credible legal theory of code-driven voter fraud across the state is not likely. It would require someone to establish that the fraud was carried out on a diversity of voting systems with completely different computer codes and languages.
Nevada: The case in Nevada is quite disturbing, and we are watching this closely to see what the outcome is. This type of fraud begins at voter registration. Unlike the other three, this challenge did not come from Jill Stein, but from a candidate for a state-wide office.
Steve Vaughan was a candidate for the Republican Assembly Candidate for Nevada District 15. This just happens to be in Nevada’s largest county, Clark County, renowned as Harry Reid’s turf. While campaign workers were out canvasing, they documented every address they went to and spotted multiple irregularities. Problems such as 5 people registered to the same vacant lot.
Vaughan then sent 1st class letters to 17,086 of the voters in his district who were actively registered to vote at addresses his campaign identified as suspicious. Shockingly, 9,200 voter letters were returned undeliverable. Of these, Vaughan’s campaign checked 200 of the returned letters and found 185 had voted. At this point, the FBI came in and confiscated the evidence. I have not seen any updates since December 7th.
This is quite significant, and more-so if it is a statewide problem. There are 42 Assembly Districts in Nevada, each consisting of about 65,000 people. How widespread is this voter fraud? It is potentially mind boggling!
The voter rolls in the 42nd Assembly District in Nevada have something seriously wrong with them. When voter registration rolls are not properly maintained and when there is no security that those on the rolls are legally registered and USA Citizens, the potential for fraud dramatically increases. In the modern age of technology it is not difficult to have clean voter registration rolls.
We are waiting to see the result of this shocking investigation!
Defend the Vote has maintained that in Illinois the most vulnerable votes are mail-in-paper ballots and nursing home voting. Illinois also has a need to work more diligently to assure that the voter registration rolls are purged of ineligible voters. Our next article will discuss this challenge.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.