domingo, 27 de novembro de 2016

Clinton camp splits from White House on Jill Stein recount push rejected by Trump / Could Jill Stein's vote recount change the outcome of the election?

Could Jill Stein's vote recount change the outcome of the election?
The Green party candidate has raised funds to file for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – but experts are skeptical about the effort

Amanda Holpuch in New York
Friday 25 November 2016 19.46 GMT

In two days, Jill Stein raised more than enough money, more than $5m, to file for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, though her campaign is still seeking about $2m more to cover the associated legal fees.

Results in these battleground states were narrow, with Trump winning by just 0.3% in Michigan, 1.2% in Pennsylvania, and 0.7% in Wisconsin. If Clinton had won all of these states’ 46 electoral college votes, it have would been enough for her to win the presidency.

But the recount process is intensive, expensive and unlikely to change the outcome of the election unless widespread voter fraud is proven. Experts have been skeptical that is the case.

In Wisconsin – where her team was due to file a recount motion by Friday afternoon – election officials would have to examine millions of paper ballots and the paper trails of the 5% of votes cast on electronic touch-screen machines.

Wisconsin election commission director Michael Haas told local news that the commission was preparing for a recount, though it had not seen evidence of interference in the state’s voting system. “We don’t have any reason to suspect that any voting equipment has been tampered with,” Haas said.

Unofficial results showed Trump won Wisconsin by more than 27,000 votes. The state has never conducted a presidential recount, but Stein’s campaign said it would file a motion for a recount on Friday before the deadline to do so in the state.

In Pennsylvania, there is no paper trail – a problem election observers anticipated ahead of the 8 November race. “The nightmare scenario would be if Pennsylvania decides the election and it is very close. You would have no paper records to do a recount,” Lawrence Norden, the co-author of a report on voting machines, told the Los Angeles Times in late October.

But because machines there are not connected to the internet, like those in Michigan, officials said they couldn’t be hacked.

Across the whole of the US, about three-quarters of voters mark paper ballots that are counted electronically by an optical scanner, according to the nonpartisan group Verified Voting, which examines how new technology affects voting integrity. But some states, including Pennsylvania, rely almost entirely on touchscreen computer voting that does not produce a paper trail. The punch card ballots that resulted in the disputed hanging chads during the Florida recount in 2000 are no longer used.

Trump was declared the winner in Michigan on Thursday by 10,704 votes, and the election director there insists there was no evidence of hacking. “It’s just conjecture, and I don’t think that serves anyone’s good purpose,” said Chris Thomas, the longtime director of Michigan’s Bureau of Elections.

Clinton camp splits from White House on Jill Stein recount push rejected by Trump
Clinton lawyer cites ‘fundamental principles’ in supporting recount
Trump calls Green candidate’s effort a ‘scam … to fill her coffers with money’

Jon Swaine, Edward Helmore and Sabrina Siddiqui
Sunday 27 November 2016 08.22 GMT

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign said on Saturday it would help with efforts to secure recounts in several states, even as the White House defended the declared results as “the will of the American people”.

The campaign’s general counsel, Marc Elias, said in an online post that while it had found no evidence of sabotage, the campaign felt “an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton”.

“We certainly understand the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton,” Elias wrote, “and it is a fundamental principle of our democracy to ensure that every vote is properly counted.”

In response, President-elect Donald Trump said in a statement: “The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton herself said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, ‘We must accept this result and then look to the future.’”

Wisconsin began recount proceedings late on Friday after receiving a petition from Jill Stein, the Green party candidate. Stein claims there are irregularities in results reported by Wisconsin as well as Michigan and Pennsylvania, where she plans to request recounts next week, having raised millions of dollars from supporters.

Trump called Stein’s effort a “scam” and said it was “just a way … to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount”.

“The results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused,” he added, “which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.”

A spokeswoman for Stein did not respond to a request for comment. Speaking to CNN, however, Stein said she had “no contact with the Clinton campaign” and added: “I have said consistently that if there are questions about the accuracy and security I would challenge it, no matter who was the winner.”

Asked what the recount would do for her or for the Green party, Stein said: “We want to know what our vote is, and that our votes are being counted. This is not a partisan effort but we need to have confidence, too.

“When evidence emerged the system was being hacked all over the place, my conviction only strengthened that this was something we have to do.”

She did not discuss any such evidence for her claims. Earlier in the afternoon, she had used Twitter to say: “Election integrity cannot be led by a party w/o integrity, just as a revolution cannot happen in a counterrevolutionary party.”

Trump narrowly defeated Clinton in all three states on his way to national victory, surprising pollsters. Because Trump’s win followed warnings from US intelligence that Russia was trying to interfere with the election, thousands of people who opposed Trump now claim he could have had foreign assistance.

In its first public remarks about the election’s security, the Obama administration said it “did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber-activity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on election day”.

A senior administration official told the Guardian: “We believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”

Stein’s petition to Wisconsin, a copy of which was obtained by the Guardian, focused on concerns that foreign actors might have copied the state’s voter registration database and then filed bogus absentee ballots. No direct evidence supporting this claim was cited.

In requesting the recounts, Stein is acting on behalf of a loose coalition of academics and election experts. Her Wisconsin petition features an affidavit by J Alex Halderman, the director of Michigan University’s Center for Computer Security and Society, who has for years detailed vulnerabilities in electronic voting machines used in the US.

One of the leaders of the coalition, John Bonifaz, founder of the National Voting Rights Institute, expressed frustration that critics were accusing Stein of exploiting disappointment over the election result to collect money and gather contact details from liberal activists.

“This was all driven by the nonpartisan election integrity community,” said Bonifaz, a constitutional attorney, in his first interview about the recount effort. “I’m the one who asked Jill Stein to file these petitions.”

Bonifaz also defended Stein’s decision to increase her fundraising target from its original $2.5m, which led to more criticism. Bonifaz said the coalition had retained the New York law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, which has extensive experience in election disputes and had advised them to budget $7m for the effort.

“This is going to be a very costly campaign,” said Bonifaz, adding that the average contribution from the tens of thousands of supporters who had donated was about $42. “But it is something that a lot of people clearly want.”

By Saturday afternoon, the online fundraising effort had reached $5.8m.

In addition to lawyers’ fees and state filing fees, the group is anticipating that litigation will be needed against opposition to recounts. Michigan’s election rules allow a candidate to oppose a request from another for a recount, but it is unclear whether the Trump campaign would decide to take advantage of this.

In his online posting, Elias said: “Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves.

“But now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.”

Trump received 2m fewer votes than Clinton nationally, but won the presidency thanks to the electoral college. More than 7 million Americans voted for other candidates, including Stein and the Libertarian Gary Johnson.

In Wisconsin, Trump beat Clinton by 27,257 votes. Stein received 30,980 votes and Johnson 106,442.

Elias wrote: “If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well.

“We do so fully aware that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states” – Michigan, where the Republican leads by 10,704 votes with the result expected to be certified on Monday – “well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount.

“But regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself.”

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