Pennsylvania is no Wisconsin
Failed Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is making more headlines now than during the election cycle.
Earlier today, Stein requested a recount in over 100 Pennsylvania precincts.
Legal papers filed in Commonwealth Court by a lawyer for Stein’s campaign contend the Nov. 8 election was “illegal” and the results inaccurate based on research suggesting there might have been irregularities with electronic voting machines, among other evidence.
“The Stein recount effort is mobilizing concerned voters across Pennsylvania to request recounts in their precincts,” Stein campaign manager David Cobb said in a statement. “Additionally, the campaign filed a legal petition in state court today on behalf of 100 Pennsylvania voters to protect their right to substantively contest the election in Pennsylvania beyond the recounts being filed by voters at the precinct level. This petition will allow the campaign to pursue a full statewide recount in Pennsylvania if precinct-level recounts uncover any irregularities or tampering.”
The Pennsylvania action follows Stein’s initiation of the recount process in Wisconsin, where her campaign filed just before the state’s 5 p.m. deadline Friday. Stein had promised supporters that if she raised enough money to pay for additional recounts, her campaign would also file for similar action in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer said Saturday that the Democratic nominee’s campaign would participate in the Wisconsin recount initiated by Stein, and would follow a similar approach in Michigan and Pennsylvania if she pursued recounts in those states.
In Wisconsin, Trump’s margin of victory is just over 22,000 votes. And in Pennsylvania, it’s even larger — roughly 71,000 votes.
Stein might be in for a rude awakening though. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania’s recount rules are quite different:
Stein’s lawsuit would have to present evidence that election fraud was probable in Pennsylvania. Democratic Secretary of State Pedro Cortes says there’s no evidence of voting irregularities during the Nov. 8 election
“Absolutely not,” Cortes told reporters. “There is no evidence whatsoever that points to any type of irregularity in any way, shape or form.”
While Stein is essentially alleging that errors, tampering or hacking had occurred to affect outcomes in the three states, even computer scientists who recommended a recount to rule out tampering have gone to great lengths to make it clear there is no proof of hacking or fraud in the election results.
Complicating any recount effort is the fact that Pennsylvania is one of 15 states that use electronic voting machines that don’t have a paper-backed audit.
“The nightmare scenario would be if Pennsylvania decides the election and it is very close,” Lawrence Norden, an expert on voting machines, told the Los Angeles Times prior to the election. “You would have no paper records to do a recount.”
Even if Stein were able to overcome the odds and initiate a statewide recount, it’s doubtful Clinton would be able to overcome Trump’s 70,638 lead in Pennsylvania. From 2000 and 2015, the outcome of the election was changed in just three of 27 elections, according to FairVote, a nonpartisan electoral reform group that researches elections. The largest swing occurred in Florida in 2000, when 1,247 voters for George W. Bush were flipped to his opponent, Al Gore, which wasn’t enough to overturn the state’s results.
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