Recount 2016: Controversy & Media Attacks Follow Jill Stein’s Demand For Electoral Integrity

‘What the recounts will do is make clear at long last that we must radically reform our abysmal voting system so that this kind of thing never happens again,’ an election integrity activist tells MintPress News.
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    AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. Jill Stein has been attacked in the mainstream media, threatened with legal action, and even created a divide within her own political party due to her attempts to audit the results of the presidential election.

    “I think Jill Stein’s doing the right thing,” said Mark Crispin Miller, a self-described “election integrity activist,” in an interview with MintPress News. “I think it’s extremely difficult to argue for any kind of cynical or self-serving motive in this.”

    Miller, a professor of media studies at New York University, has spent much of the last decade studying the results of U.S. elections. In the lead up to Election Day, he told MintPress that electronic voting machines in the United States are dangerously vulnerable to hacking and fraud. Now, he says he hopes recounts will encourage more voters to support election reform.



    “Beyond their immediate political effects between now and the next election, what the recounts will do is make clear at long last that we must radically reform our abysmal voting system so that this kind of thing never happens again,” Miller said.

    Stein and her legal team demanded recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. To fuel these efforts, she spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign which raised more $6.7 million, a sum barely able to cover the massive filing fees required to force a recount in each state.

    Stein and election integrity activists have repeatedly criticized the high costs of recounts and suggested the process should be triggered automatically under certain circumstances. “Whenever races are very close, there should be an automatic recount,” Stein said in a Nov. 30 appearance on Democracy Now!

    Independent presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente has also filed for a recount in Nevada, though his efforts have received little media attention.

    “I’m only interested in validating the election and exposing the vulnerabilities I believe exist in our current system,” De La Fuente said in a Nov. 30 press release. “I’m not trying to change the results.”

    The Wisconsin recount began on Thursday and continued into this week.

    On Saturday, Stein’s recount campaign announced its intention to sue Pennsylvania officials in federal court over legal and financial roadblocks to recount efforts in that state.

    On Sunday, a judge in Michigan ordered recount efforts to begin by noon on Monday, while the state’s Republican attorney general, Bill Schuette, has said he will sue to block the recount.

    Stein and other election analysts have highlighted the problem of “under-voting” in Michigan as a sign of possible election fraud. About 84,000 voters made no selection for president, according to the current official results. Recount efforts have already revealed that many voting machines in Michigan were broken, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.

    On Monday, Stein told CNN’s Erin Burnett that the lawsuit in Michigan and attacks on Stein’s recount efforts from President-elect Donald Trump, suggest the GOP fears what a recount could reveal.

    “They’re doing everything they can to stop transparency and accountability,” Stein said.

     

    The media’s ‘bizarre refusal’ to take election integrity seriously

    While Miller and other activists have applauded Stein’s efforts and over 130,000 of people donated to her recount campaign, she’s also been the target of harsh and sometimes factually inaccurate attacks.

    “What’s blown my mind at the moment is the almost universal hostility toward Stein,” Miller said, noting that both mainstream media and relatively progressive journalistic voices have joined in criticizing recount efforts.

    Writing for the New Yorker on Nov. 28, Amy Davidson deemed the recount “a corrosive, conspiracy-minded, and slanderous attack on the integrity of our voting system.” On Friday, Chris Conover, a contributor to Forbes’ health blog, The Apothecary, wrote that Stein and others supporting the recount “could have saved the lives of at least 5,000 children had they invested in malaria prevention efforts rather than recounting presidential votes.”

    “I shouldn’t be amazed because for over a decade I’ve been struggling to get the press to pay attention to the issue of election fraud, so I’m well aware of their bizarre refusal to go anywhere near the story,” Miller continued.

    While election integrity is a vital issue for American democracy, he suggested the issue has been labeled a “conspiracy theory,” which allows it to be dismissed without closer examination.

    Other rumors swirling around Stein’s efforts suggest she’s attempting to get rich from the recount, or that the efforts have been funded by powerful Democratic Party insiders such as George Soros. Soros, a wealthy political donor frequently linked to international humanitarian NGOs that actually benefit Western interests, is often falsely accused of paying for protests in the United States.

    MintPress made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Stein and her recount team for comment on these issues. However, she addressed several of these concerns in her Democracy Now! interview, in which Stein told host Amy Goodman that she isn’t legally able to use the recount money for personal gain or even to support the Green Party.

    “FEC rules require that a recount be funded by a dedicated recount account, and the money can only be used for that,” she said.

    Stein also noted that because the recount is part of her presidential campaign, campaign finance laws limit the size of the donations she can accept for the recount. Stein continued:

    “The average donation is $45. One-half of 1 percent of donors contributed more than $1,000. And the absolute maximum is the maximum you can contribute to a political campaign, which is $2,700.”

     

    ‘We don’t agree with it, but she has the right to do it’

    Jill Stein filing for a recount in Wisconsin on Friday, November 25. (Photo: Jill Stein/Facebook)

    Jill Stein filing for a recount in Wisconsin on Friday, November 25. (Photo: Jill Stein/Facebook)

    A statement published Nov. 28 on the website of Dr. Margaret Flowers, a Green Party member whose bid for the Senate failed this year and 2016 co-chair of the Green Party convention, begins:

    “We write to reaffirm our commitment to building a Green Party that has a radical analysis of the society in which we live, and promotes bold solutions to transform our society and address the root causes of those crises; a Green Party that is independent of the two money-dominated parties.”

    The statement, which is cosigned by numerous notable Green Party supporters including activist and author Chris Hedges and Rosa Clemente, the 2008 Green Party vice presidential candidate, accuses Stein of aligning the Green Party with the Democratic Party through the recount effort. The statement also suggests that Stein did not follow proper Green Party procedures for receiving approval for the recount, although it is within her legal rights as a candidate to call for recounts.

    “We don’t agree with it, but she has the right to do it,” Flowers said in an interview with MintPress. “People are saying this really stinks, this wasn’t done in the proper way.”

    Rather than targeting states where Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton narrowly lost to Trump, Flowers said the Green Party should be investigating potential irregularities which affected Green votes, such as a social media rumor that Green votes were stolen in Maine.

    She also objected to recount filings which suggest Russian hackers could have interfered with the election, which she called “dangerous propaganda” with little evidence to support it. It’s also a charge that was leveled against Stein after she attended a December 2015 conference sponsored by Russian-owned TV network RT.

    “Now she’s turned around and is using the Democrats’ argument,” Flowers said.

    Flowers also said she perceives the recount as a distraction from the larger agenda of the Green Party, which is currently focused on building power in local and state communities.

    “I think as we begin to see results that actually translate into a more secure voting system, that minds will change,” Stein said in her appearance on Democracy Now! Stein in response to some of the criticisms she’s received from her party.

    Stein continued:

    “The Greens, you know, are very focused on economic justice, racial justice, climate justice, you name it. And as a—for many Greens, especially newer Greens, electoral integrity has not been a priority.”

    While agreeing that the Green Party should focus on economic, racial and climate justice, Flowers rejected the notion that the membership ignores the importance of electoral integrity. She said many party members object to the recount because one of the two major parties is most likely to benefit.

    “Many Greens work on election integrity,” she said. “The concern was that the way that it was done — we’re basically picking up the Democratic Party’s water and carrying it.”

    Despite these differences, Flowers expressed her respect for Stein’s work as a candidate and activist. “She and I disagree on this. It doesn’t change my respect for all the work that she did over years to very tirelessly build up the Green Party.”

    Ultimately, Flowers said she hopes the conflict will lead to better procedures for finding consensus and making decisions within the Green Party:

    “Personally, I don’t shy away from these types of conflicts. I think they can be really important moments for growing and learning. I feel pretty strongly that the party is going to come out stronger because of all this.”

    ‘The perilous condition of our electoral democracy’

    Mark Crispin Miller said it’s all but impossible that the recounts will actually change the result of the election. And even if the recount uncovers clear evidence of fraud, he suggested the Democrats’ reluctance to contest the 2000 and 2004 election results will repeat in 2016.

    “The Democrats have never contested election results,” he said, “and I don’t believe Clinton is any more inclined to do that than Gore or Kerry was.”

    Despite the ineffectiveness of the Democratic Party, Miller believes the recounts could reveal strong evidence of election tampering:

    “What I hope happens is that the recounts are successful enough to verify that there was extensive fraud in this election so that it then becomes impossible to keep the subject under wraps and for the press to continue to act as if it can’t happen here.”

    The United States trails behind other countries when it comes to the reliability of elections, according to the Electoral Integrity Project, a study carried out by researchers at Harvard University and the University of Sydney.

    In addition to the irregularities uncovered in Michigan, Miller cited discrepancies between final election results and pre-election polls and exit polls which suggested Clinton would win key swing states as a sign of potential electronic voting fraud.

    “Confronted with an election result that diverges wildly from tons of pre-election data and tons of election day data, people will automatically assume that the data is wrong and the official outcome is right,” Miller noted.

    Yet he also observed that such irregularities frequently lead U.S. officials to accuse foreign countries of election fraud. As a hypothetical example, Miller suggested: “What if in Russia all the polls before the election and all the exit polls told us that one of Putin’s adversaries was going to win, but then Putin won by a large margin?”

    Miller continued:

    “We trust these private voting machine companies, most of which were founded by right-wing Republicans. They simply tell us what the tally is and we believe them and the media believes them. And if anyone like Jill Stein suggests we verify the results, they treat her as the skunk in the garden party.”

    Above all, Miller concluded, the priority right now should be safeguarding democracy, no matter what the recount efforts reveal.

    “There are a lot of people who are sincerely convinced that stopping Trump is the most important thing right now and I respect that view and I share it to some extent,” he said, “but I think that the perilous condition of our electoral democracy is the most important issue, ultimately.”

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    • elkojohn

      Election fraud is a legal issue and should be addressed by lawsuits — NOT A RECOUNT.
      As such, — Jill Stein should have raised money for the ACLU, CCR or the NLG, or a
      coalition of these groups to take the culprits to court — especially the use of the software
      program ”Crosscheck” to eliminate voters from the registration rolls without their knowledge
      (as documented by Greg Palest
      http://www.gregpalast.com/crosscheck-not-just-crooked-criminal/).

    • Bob Beal

      This isn’t about installing Hilary. It’s about exposing the illegitimacy of our “democracy.”

    • James Wherry
    • Bobs_Vendetta

      I’m not buying that this is a grass roots effort that, in a matter of days, brought in a lot more than Stein and the Greens raised throughout the campaign. There is bound to be Soros or Clinton superpac money involved. And her choice of states just happens to be the three states which cost Clinton the election. Way too much of a coincidence. Sorry, I agree the integrity of our elections has been severely compromised — well before 2016 — but this is a back door way of the corrupt queen trying to gain her throne.

      • James Wherry

        Unquestionably. Soros has been busy paying protesters outside of the Trump building in New York, so why not here? Your point is well made. The attempt has also FAILED in Wisconsin – give or take about 24 votes out of more than 22,000!

    • tapatio

      Vote fraud is not the problem with the American electoral system. The problem/CRIME is………….

      1) The Electoral College, an outdated institution that blocks democracy.

      2) Campaigns bought by representatives of FOREIGN governments/special interests (AIPAC, Sheldon Adelson, Goldman-Sachs, Pharma, etc………..ad nauseum). All campaign funds should be from the government to qualified candidates. Criminalize outside funding.

      3) Fraudulent/inappropriate behavior within parties (HELLary/Debbie Schultz’s duplicity in 2016)

      4) Publicity wh0res, like Donald Trump.

      • Bob Beal

        This article doesn’t discuss vote(r) fraud. It discusses election fraud, as in electronic voting systems — things that European countries tried and rejected and went back to (AC)COUNTABLE paper ballots.

    • James Wherry

      I don’t disagree with Jill Stein’s desire for election integrity – but in this case, she blew it. What she’s proved instead is that our election system enjoys a HIGH degree of integrity.

      “Wisconsin

      “The recount began Thursday and continued over the weekend, with little change so far in the unofficial results as reported on election night. Six counties had completed their work by Monday morning, with the margin between Trump and Clinton unchanged. Both candidates lost 20 votes.

      “A federal lawsuit was filed late last week by a Trump voter and two super PACs seeking to stop the recount. The judge rejected a request to halt the recount while the lawsuit is pending and scheduled a hearing for Friday.

      “Trump won Wisconsin by about 22,000 votes over Clinton.”
      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/recount-latest-wisconsin-michigan-pennsylvania-and-nevada-jill-stein/

      • tapatio

        Ignoring the porcine BS of Mr. Wherry, this election is proof that our system is filled with fraud and inequity. Clinton and Wasserman-Sh!tz made sure that Bernie Sanders could not receive the Democratic nomination. Their visible behaviors skirted the criminal. Certainly, if all of their behavior were publicizxed, much of it would be proven criminal.

        Donald Trump is the ultimate “used-car-salesman”……….he has no other skills and, like most salesmen, no integrity, or real education.

        The final election results were………………………

        HELLary Clinton………….65,432,202
        Donny Drumpf…………….62,793,872

        In spite of her life of sociopathy, service to the Zionist disease and apparent criminal behavior and her war mongering, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CHOSE THE FOUL HAG AS PRESIDENT by almost TWO MILLION VOTES.

        The scam-artist Trump WAS NOT CHOSEN AS PRESIDENT BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

        • James Wherry

          There’s a difference between “voting for stupid and stupidly voting for this guy,” vs. “fraud.” The people voted and their vote – misinformed as it was – was recorded correctly and accurately. The election was always about CORRUPTION, and it’s PROOF that American voters had had enough that someone SUCH AS PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP – could actually win, that shows who sad she was as a candidate. Had it been any other Republican (even TED CRUZ), they would have CREAMED her.

          After more than 10 days, Jill Stein has only proven that except minor irregularities, our system works – technically. “The day 10 results show that Hillary Clinton has gained a net of only 25 votes over Donald Trump. Trump won Wisconsin by more than 22,000 votes, a margin that has changed only by microscopic amounts despite the at least $3.5 million price tag. You can get the latest raw recount data here.”

          http://legalinsurrection.com/2016/12/wisconsin-held-hostage-recount-day-10/

          Latest information: http://elections.wi.gov/publications/statistics/recount/2016/12-10-spreadsheet

          • tapatio

            THE ISRAELI JEW (ALLEGED “AMERICAN”), DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, VERY CLEARLY COMMITTED FRAUD WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN HER TREATMENT OF BERNIE SANDERS.

            WHILE THERE IS NO CONCRETE EVIDENCE THAT DONALD TRUMP HAS COMMITTED FELONIES, IT’S QUITE OBVIOUS THAT HIS LIFE IS ONE OF TAKING ADVANTAGE OF/CHEATING OTHERS FOR HIS OWN BENEFIT.

            BUT THEN, THAT IS ALSO THE JEWISH WAY, HUH, WHERRY?
            THE CULT THAT YOU SO WORSHIP DID INVENT USURY AND DID MURDER JESUS BECAUSE HE DROVE THE LOAN SHARKS OUT OF THE TEMPLE.

    • Sean Meehan

      I applaud Candidate Stein for demanding that we don’t take accurate vote counts for granted, that our ignorance of vote tallying errors points to a greater ignorance of systemic disenfranchisement such as discriminatory Voter ID laws, registration irregularities, ballot access restrictions for third parties, the Electoral College, and our anti-representative ‘first-past-the-post’ election structure. Clearly, the irrationally negative media response indicates they want control over the narrative and the spotlight, but they can’t stop any determined person from screaming in the dark through legal and moral action.

      Preliminary totals indicate that Clinton’s vote may have been overcounted in WI on election night, which, if that trend persists in the final tallies, will at least silence critics of Stein who say her efforts are somehow in service to the Democratic candidate alone, in spite of her constant criticism of the Democrats during her campaign.

    • Aquifer

      “She (Flowers) said many party members object to the recount because one of the two major parties is most likely to benefit.”

      Well, yeah … one of the 2 major parties has always benefitted from our elections …. recounted or not … that’s rather obvious, i would think … And no one else will ever benefit until the process is cleaned up … Sunshine is always the best disinfectant, but the press, in focusing on a GP controversy, seems to prefer heat to light …

    • Paul E. Merrell, J.D.

      I’m not buying it. Jill Stein is attempting to put Hillary Clinton in office instead of Donald Trump. Ms. Clinton is a war criminal several times over so is ineligible for the Presidency, in my book. Trump at least has not committed any war crimes yet and is showing lots of signs of being far less prone to inflicting violence on the people of other nations than Hillary is.

      With the death toll of our wars in the Mideast since 9/11 quickly approaching 8 million, that gives us an average of somewhat over 500,000 deaths annually. So even assuming Ms. Clinton would no begin no new foreign wars, we could expect her hypothesized Presidence to rack up more than 2 million lives in a single four-year term. Mr. Trump wants to cut back to just fighting ISIL. Let’s say for sake of argument, 60,000 deaths per year. So 2 million dead with Clinton vs. 240,000 dead for Trump during the first four years, give or take.

      What’s a single human life worth?

      Jill Stein never gets my vote again.

      • Aquifer

        If Clinton had won, and the vote results were suspicious in a number of areas, would you not then applaud a recount? So as long as that your candidate wins, it doesn’t matter how ….

        • Paul E. Merrell, J.D.

          No. Either way, it’s Stein engaged in the very kind of lesser evilism she so properly railed against during the run-up to the general election. It’s time to work on the next election, not to try to affect who the winner was in the last.

          • Aquifer

            Whichever duopoly party comes out on top, it will be “evil” – the answer is to toss them both out – and Stein gave us the opportunity to do that, both in ’12 and in ’16 – and we didn’t take it…. but she is like the energizer bunny, she won’t go away and will continue to try to clean up the process in whatever way she can … a good practitioner of “political medicine” doesn’t give up until the disease is cured or the “patient”, in this case our democracy is dead – some folks think it is already, but a good doc will try CPR even then …

            Sure, work on the next election – which, as long as we don’t shine light on the corruption enabled by our current voting machinery, will be just as subject to manipulation .. so you can spend all day in the barn milking the cow, and allow someone to come in and kick the bucket over ..

            Your argument sounds rather like the one that says – naw, don’t bother investigating, let alone prosecuting, the miscreant bankers that crashed our economy – “let us move forward” – while leaving in place the same set-up that allowed them to do it …

      • James Wherry

        If the results had uncovered a high degree of election problems, I’d be more sympathetic to Ms. Stein, but instead, what we’re seeing in Wisconsin is that about 45 ballots were changed for Secretary Clinton and 20 for Mr. Trump, giving Secretary Clinton a net increase of 25 ballots with 95% of the state re-counted in a state where Mr. Trump won by 22,000 ballots out of some 3 million cast.

        Hate to say it, but what Ms. Stein has done is to PROVE the election system integrity of our system – no matter which party is in charge.