What happened with the recount effort in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, thanks to the tireless efforts of election workers and observers, a recount was conducted throughout the entire state. Unfortunately, not all counties conducted a recount by hand, the only reliable way to do a recount. While the campaign was able to beat back efforts by Trump and the GOP to stop the recount, the refusal by some of the largest and most important counties in the state to conduct a hand recount undermined the possibility of an accurate recount. In the absence of a hand recount, the ballots are simply reinserted into the same machines that produced the first count, providing no meaningful cross check on the potentially flawed machines.

Election officials in Milwaukee County, the largest and the most socioeconomically, racially and ethnically diverse county in the state, declined a hand recount.  This was unfortunate given the findings in Michigan that showed voting machines are most likely to malfunction in under-resourced communities of color. Absent a hand recount, there is no way to know whether the vote count in Milwaukee County was likewise compromised.

The recount effort was met with repeated efforts to obstruct the process: a baseless Federal Election Commission complaint by the Wisconsin Republican Party; a frivolous suit filed by a Trump super PAC whose argument the judge called ‘dead on arrival’; and a shocking, last-minute $2.4 million increase in recount cost.

Despite the resistance to the 2016 recount in Wisconsin, the fight for voting justice continues. For over a year, our legal team has been working to set up a groundbreaking state-wide examination of crucial voting machine software that controls the actual counting and tallying of the votes.

Incredibly, this software has never before been examined following an election for evidence of tampering or errors that would compromise an election!

A new, unique Wisconsin law allows us the right to examine this software. The examination, conducted by computer voting experts, would check for evidence of human error, intentional interference or tampering by anyone - whether foreign powers, criminal networks, domestic partisans, or corporations that control the voting software.

But it will be a tough legal fight to make this happen.  That’s because election law largely protects the privacy and profits of voting software companies over our right to an accurate and secure vote.

We are in continuing negotiations with the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) and the voting software company in the hopes of making this happen soon.


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