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The No-BS Inside Guide to the Recount

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Greg Palast       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink

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Reprinted from us4.campaign-archive2.com

Greg Palast investigated vote suppression in the 2016 election for Rolling Stone. The film of his investigation, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, was released by Cinema Libre Studios in September.
There's been so much complete nonsense since I first broke the news that the Green Party would file for a recount of the presidential vote, I am compelled to write a short guide to flush out the BS and get to just the facts, ma'am.

Clip from The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast


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Nope, they're not hunting for Russian hackers
To begin with, the main work of the recount hasn't a damn thing to do with finding out if the software programs for the voting machines have been hacked, whether by Putin's agents or some guy in a cave flipping your vote from Hillary to The Donald.

The Green team does not yet even have the right to get into the codes. But that's just not the core of the work

The ballots in the electoral "dumpster"
The nasty little secret of US elections, is that we don't count all the votes.

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In Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania--and all over America--there were a massive number of votes that were simply rejected, invalidated, and spoiled. They were simply, not counted. Officially, in a typical presidential election, at least three million votes end up rejected, often for picayune, absurd reasons.

The rejects fall into three big categories: provisional ballots rejected, absentee and mail-in ballots invalidated and in-precinct votes "spoiled," spit out by a machine or thrown out by a human reader as unreadable or mis-marked.
So, as Robert Fitrakis, lead lawyer for the recount tells me, their first job is to pull the votes out of the electoral dumpster--and, one by one, make the case for counting a rejected provisional, absentee or "spoiled" ballot.

Spoiled: over-votes and under-votes
How does a vote spoil? Most fall in the categories of "over-votes" and "under-votes."

In Michigan, the Green team has found a whole lot of people who voted for TWO candidates for President. These are the "over-vote"--votes that will count for neither candidate.

How odd. While the schools in Detroit are not stellar, its graduates do know that they can only have one president.
Then, some folks didn't vote at all. They are the "under-voter."

But, Fitrakis and team suspect, many of these under- and over-voters meant to vote for a candidate but the robot reader couldn't understand their choice.

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Here's how it happens. Voters in Michigan and Wisconsin fill in bubbles next to their choice. The cards, filled up with darkened bubbles for each race, are gathered and fed through an "optical scanner." These robotic eyeballs mess up all the time.

This is what Fitrakis, an old hand at vote-machine failures (both deliberate and benign), calls "the calibration problem."

Are machines calibrated with a Republican or Democratic bias? No, that's not how it works. But just as poor areas get the worst schools and hospitals, they also get the worst voting machines.

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Greg Palast's investigative reports appear in Rolling Stone, the Guardian and on BBC Television. His latest film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, on how Donald Trump stole the 2016 election, is available on Amazon. Palast is Patron of the Trinity (more...)
 

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