UPDATE: Federal judge halts Stein’s Michigan presidential election recount

The latest update in Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s pointless and legally baseless Michigan recount effort:

After two days of  ballot counting, conflicting court decisions and legal wranglings between frustrated lawyers, a federal judge on Wednesday halted the hand recount of 4.8 million ballots cast for president in Michigan, concluding there’s no real evidence of foul play and there’s no valid reason to continue the recount.


In his eight-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said “there is no basis” for him to ignore a state court ruling that said the recount should never had started. He was referring to the Michigan Court of Appeals 3-0 ruling, which said that Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, who requested the recount, never had a shot at winning with her fourth-place finish and 1% of the vote, and therefore was not an aggrieved candidate.

The judge also notes that Stein never any evidence to support her voting machine hacking claims, just speculation.

“To date, plaintiffs have not presented evidence of tampering or mistake. Instead, they present speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery — but not actual injury,”  Goldsmith wrote, adding the potential for fraud is not enough to continue to allow the recount to proceed.

Another South Texas election overturned due to voter fraud

Another close election in South Texas’ Rio Grande valley is overturned due to voter fraud:

On Monday evening, a judge ordered a new election to be held for Hidalgo City Council Place 5 following a mail-in ballot lawsuit filed by candidate Gilberto Perez.


The lawsuit claimed illegal assistance with mail-in ballots in the June 2016 runoff election. The lawsuit also claimed that non-residents and ineligible people cast ballots in the Place 5 race.


The seat is currently held by councilman Oziel Treviño. Perez lost the seat by just six votes in the runoff election.

Most of the approximately 30 witnesses testified that they received voting assistance they didn’t require from campaign workers who insisted they vote for the slate sponsored by city councilman Rudy Franz, Citizens Alliance for a Better Hidalgo, which included Treviño. One voter testified she was paid by a campaign worker to register others at her home who didn’t live in the city of Hidalgo.

“Half of Detroit votes may be ineligible for recount”

It’s not good:”

Michigan’s largest county voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but officials couldn’t reconcile vote totals for 610 of 1,680 precincts during a countywide canvass of vote results late last month.


Most of those are in heavily Democratic Detroit, where the number of ballots in precinct poll books did not match those of voting machine printout reports in 59 percent of precincts, 392 of 662.


According to state law, precincts whose poll books don’t match with ballots can’t be recounted. If that happens, original election results stand. “It’s not good,” conceded Daniel Baxter, elections director for the city of Detroit…


County reports obtained by The Detroit News, though, indicate canvassers were provided no explanation for why the numbers didn’t add up in those precincts. They certified the results of the election anyway.

UPDATE: Michigan appeals court rejects Jill Stein’s recount as unlawful

Confusion continues in the Michigan recount mess as dueling state and federal rulings ensure a return to court over the pointless process:

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Board of State Canvassers never should have allowed a recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein to proceed, because she has no chance to overturn the result of the presidential election in her favor and is not an aggrieved candidate.


The panel ordered the board to “reject the Nov. 30, 2016 petition of candidate Stein that precipitated the current recount process.”


The ruling came out almost simultaneously with a 2-1 order from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith’s Monday order that the recount must get under way at noon that day, which it did.

Meanwhile, dozens of precincts are unrecountable, ineligible for recount under state law because the number of voters who cast ballots and the number of ballots found in the ballot box on election night don’t match (a separate issue that does warrant review). That means the election night counts will stand for those precincts, according to Michigan’s State Director of Elections Chis Thomas.

SCOTUS considers race, politics, and redistricting

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in two cases centered on “an issue at the heart of race and politics: drawing legislative districts based on race.”

Black voters in Virginia and North Carolina contended that political maps illegally pack those voters into a small number of districts, eliminating African Americans’ ability to influence results in adjacent contests. Republicans lawmakers who drew the maps say they intended to comply with the Voting Rights Act, which has been read to prohibit eliminating safe districts for minority incumbents, or to harm Democrats for partisan, rather than racial, reasons.


While it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, the Supreme Court has never held it unconstitutional to disadvantage voters for partisan reasons. Monday’s cases, as several justices remarked, were difficult to resolve partly because of the political reality that race and partisan preference are strongly aligned.

The two cases, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris, were argued separately but by the same attorneys: Paul Clement for Republican state officials defending their maps and Marc Elias for Democrats challenging the maps.

“It is a very tough matter,” observed Justice Stephen Breyer, summarizing the questions with which the justices were grappling today. Federal law permits (and sometimes requires) states to consider race when drawing district lines, to create legislative districts in which a majority of voters are members of a minority group, but at the same time the Constitution bars states from making race the predominant factor when drawing districts. “No one,” Breyer continued, “seems to have a good answer to” the dilemma facing the Supreme Court – how courts should determine when the use of race becomes sufficiently pervasive that it crosses over to become unconstitutional racial gerrymandering, particularly when race correlates closely with political party.

SCOTUS will have an answer, if not a good one, by summer.

“Election Integrity Matters”

The next administration should put election integrity at the top of its agenda:

The greatest threat to democracy is subversion of the electoral process. Allowing every eligible citizen to cast a ballot is obviously vitally important. But so is ensuring that those not eligible do not vote. Cheating is not a victimless crime. It threatens democracy.


Of course, the Left insists that vote fraud is a myth. Yet if that is the case, then why the steadfast resistance to the simplest forms of ballot security, like requiring voters to show valid ID or prove citizenship when they register to vote?

UPDATE: Michigan GOP files appeal with 6th Circuit as challenged recount continues

Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s requested hand recount of about 4.8 million presidential ballots continues as the Michigan Republican Party filed a notice of appeal Monday afternoon with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the recount.


Attorney Gary Gordon argued Sunday on behalf of the Michigan GOP that “Stein had no chance of overturning the election results — Stein finished a distant 4th in Michigan to Republican president-elect Donald Trump — her concerns about votes not being counted properly were merely speculative, and the recount would result in excessive costs for Michigan taxpayers.”


But U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled that Stein demonstrated “a credible threat that the recount, if delayed, would not be completed” by a December 13 federal deadline and ordered the recount to begin Monday rather than after a two-day waiting period as required by Michigan law.

“Surprise:” Machines are better than humans at counting ballots

The Wisconsin recount may have a surprise in store after all. Actually, it’s not a “surprise” to anyone with ballot-counting experience:

Thanks to the efforts of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a recount is underway in Wisconsin. It is highly unlikely to change the outcome — as Hillary Clinton’s campaign has stated — but it is much more likely to overturn some conventional wisdom about counting votes. In particular, we may learn, yet again, that computers are better than humans at counting ballots.

Federal judge orders immediate start of Michigan recount

Granting the request of Green Party candidate Jill Stein, a federal judge ordered Michigan to start a recount today of presidential ballots and to “assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours” to complete the recount by a December 13 federal deadline.


Stein and the Green Party are also suing for recounts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, suggesting with no evidence whatsoever that voting machines in all three states may have been the target of some type of vote-tampering cyberattack.


As the Michigan Republican Party’s attorney Gary Gordon pointed out, “Michigan’s voting machines are not connected to the Internet and are secured in such a way that ‘the gremlins and the Martians and the Russian hackers’ can’t get to them.”


Yet Stein seems mystified why 75,000 Michigan ballots included no vote for president and declares it must be hacking.


Despite raising a reported $7 million for recount efforts, most of the estimated $5 million cost of the recount, minus the $973,250 recount petition fee Stein paid, will be borne by Michigan taxpayers.


Meanwhile, the Michigan Legislature in its lame duck session is considering genuine efforts to increase the security of the state’s elections by strengthening voter ID requirements.

NC Gov. McCrory asks State Bureau of Investigation to look into potential voter fraud

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into possible voter fraud in Bladen County after the State Board of Elections voted 3-2 to dismiss an election protest alleging workers for a Democrat-funded political committee ran an “absentee ballot mill,” fraudulently filling out hundreds of mail ballots.

“We have an obligation to ensure that every vote is counted accurately and that our elections process is conducted legally,” said McCrory. “Any verified instance of voter fraud or other illegal activity should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Though it dismissed the protest, the SBOE voted unanimously to send evidence its investigators uncovered to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.