From the beginning of the recount effort, we made it clear that we were committed to ensuring the integrity of the election. Our goal was not to change the outcome or to help any one candidate , but simply to verify that the official results matched the will of the voters.
In that spirit, we are continuing the fight for voting justice in federal court, challenging the unfairness of Pennsylvania’s election system as a whole. See our latest brief here.
Pennsylvania’s system forces voters to use unreliable machines that frequently fail and which leave no paper trail of the vote - making it impossible to hold the system accountable to a standard of accuracy and honesty. The system also prevents voters from taking meaningful action to ensure that their votes are counted. This is simply not fair. We have not only a right to vote, but a right to have our votes counted.
We are filing suit on behalf of voters who swear that they were disenfranchised in this year’s election by the state of Pennsylvania. They tried to vote for candidates, but saw the machines record a “No Vote” instead. When they tried to ask for a recount, they were turned away by an unfair, unaccountable system.
With this lawsuit, we are standing up for the basic principle that every vote should count. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s top election officials seem to disagree.
On paper, Pennsylvania gives voters the right to seek a recount, but the reality is that this right exists only on paper. To actually initiate a recount in this byzantine system, voters would have to round up thousands of signatures from every precinct across the entire state. The courts hit them with prohibitively high fees. The deadline is different in every county, and no one - not even the state’s highest election officials - can actually tell when the deadlines are.
In short, getting a recount in Pennsylvania is an impossible task. When the state gives us a right on paper, but makes it impossible in practice, it is in reality denying us that right.
Desperate to avoid accountability, the state is claiming that we are the wrong people to bring this lawsuit. But if disenfranchised voters and a candidate whose votes were not counted accurately are the wrong people to challenge an unfair election system, who exactly is the right person?
The truth, as we’ve found throughout the recount effort, is that the political establishment doesn’t want anyone at all to even raise the question of whether our election system is fair. But that has never deterred us before, and it won’t stop us now.
We are proud of the campaign that we ran. We are proud of the recount demands that we made. And we are proud to continue the fight for voting justice in federal court.
Building the Global Alliance for Real Democracy
I recently returned from the Global Greens Congress in Liverpool, England, with people from over 100 countries around the world who are working together to put people, planet and peace over profit. One of the highlights was participating in a panel discussion on moving from the obsolete, broken first-past-the-post voting system (used in the US, UK, Canada, and elsewhere) to a system of proportional representation, where for example a party that receives 15% of the vote gets 15% of the legislative seats. These systems, used in most modern democracies, are more representative, accountable, and democratic. It was encouraging to hear how people around the world are building the movement to fix our broken voting systems - a critical task in the US for all of us who want real democracy and real progress.
Thank you for being part of a global movement for voting justice.
It’s in our hands,
Jill and the Recount 2016 team