My guest today is Bob Fitrakis, college professor, author, editor of the Columbus Free Press, and student of our elections, past and present.
Joan Brunwasser: Welcome to OpEdNews, Bob. The 2016 election has come and gone. What, if anything, is there to talk about now?
Bob Fitrakis: The big news is that Jill Stein's Green Party presidential campaign is asking for a recount of the votes in three states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. All of these states are significantly outside the margin of error from the unadjusted exit poll numbers contrasted to the reported vote count. I am acting as an of-counsel attorney, pro bono, for the Stein campaign. I believe this is a historically important effort due to the lack of transparency in our elections, that allow private, for-profit, partisan companies to program our computerized voting machines and central tabulators.
JB: Agreed. How did Stein decide to do this action? It's unusual, to say the least. Can you give us some background, please?
BF: Actually, in this case, it's not that unusual. David Cobb, Stein's campaign manager, asked for a recount in Ohio after he ran for president with the Green Party in 2004. Both the Green Party and Libertarian Party endorsed that effort. Later research, much of it published at the freepress.org and at OpEdNews indicated that the 2004 election was in fact stolen by electronically moving the vote count from Ohio to a company called Smarttech in Chattanooga, Tennessee to flip the vote from Kerry to Bush.
When Jill ran for president in 2012, she called a press conference the day of the election and questioned the "secret experimental patches" placed on county central tabulators in 40 or so Ohio counties. She is a supporter of election transparency. The three states chosen for the recount all have statistical red flags and were very close in the votes between the two major presidential candidates. Stein believes the voters of the United States have the right to a fair and accurate count.
JB: Once the decision was made, how do you move forward? I imagine that the cost of recounting is quite expensive. Who's going to pay for this?