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The Voting News for 12/13/2016
In its first show of public support for efforts questioning the legitimacy of Donald Trump's victory, Hillary Clinton's campaign said it is supporting a request by members of the Electoral College for an intelligence briefing on foreign intervention in the presidential election. "The bipartisan electors' letter raises very grave issues involving our national security," Clinton's former campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement on Monday. "Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed. Each day in October, our campaign decried the interference of Russia in our campaign and its evident goal of hurting our campaign to aid Donald Trump," he said. "Despite our protestations, this matter did not receive the attention it deserved by the media in the campaign. We now know that the CIA has determined Russia's interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump. This should distress every American."
The top two Republicans in Congress said on Monday that they supported investigations into possible Russian cyberattacks to influence the American election, setting up a potential confrontation with President-elect Donald J. Trump in his first days in office. "Any foreign breach of our cybersecurity measures is disturbing, and I strongly condemn any such efforts," said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, adding, "The Russians are not our friends." Mr. McConnell's support for investigating American intelligence findings that Moscow intervened in the election on Mr. Trump's behalf could presage friction between the Republicans who control Congress, and who have long taken a hard line against Russia, and the president-elect, who has mocked the findings. Mr. McConnell also went out of his way to address Mr. Trump's claim that the C.I.A. could not be trusted because of flawed intelligence before the Iraq war. "Let me say that I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community," Mr. McConnell said, "and especially the Central Intelligence Agency. The C.I.A. is filled with selfless patriots, many of whom anonymously risk their lives for the American people."
The recount effort by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in three U.S. states came to an end on Monday, after weeks of legal wrangling yielded only one electoral review in Wisconsin that favored Republican winner Donald Trump. A federal judge in Pennsylvania rejected Stein's request for a recount and an examination of that state's voting machines for evidence of hacking in the Nov. 8 election won by Trump. Meanwhile, Wisconsin election officials said on Monday they had completed their 10-day recount after finding that Trump's margin of victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton had increased by 131 votes, bringing Trump's total lead to 22,748. "The final Wisconsin vote is in and guess what - we just picked up an additional 131 votes. The Dems and Green Party can now rest. Scam!" Trump said on Twitter. Stein, who finished fourth, challenged the results in those two states as well as Michigan, where the state's top court on Friday denied Stein's last-ditch appeal to keep a recount going. All of those traditionally Democratic strongholds supported Trump over Clinton. Even if all three recounts had taken place, they were unlikely to change the outcome.
Jill Stein, her supporters and a group of experts struggled mightily to get proper recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. They were accused of paranoia and of simply wasting time. Why is it so difficult, and so controversial, to get the results of a U.S. presidential election inspected and verified? Audits should be mandatory in all states; in fact, they're part of the foundation of a healthy democracy. Recounts not only are important for finding proof that voting machines were misconfigured or hacked. In a meaningful recount, evidence representing the voter's intent is compared against the published vote totals. Even if a recount proves that everything went as intended, it's a way to reassure the public -- especially the losing side -- that the announced winner of the election is legitimate. A recount is comparable to checking the receipt before leaving the local grocery store. Some check, some don't, but overall, we all agree that the ability to check a receipt is worth the paper it is printed on.
A federal judge has rejected a request for an immediate injunction in lawsuit by two presidential electors in Colorado filed as part of a strategy to block Donald Trump's election. The ruling -- by Bill Clinton appointee Wiley Daniel -- delivers a crushing blow to the Hamilton Electors, a group of Electoral College members pursuing a strategy to convince presidential electors across the country to unite behind an alternative candidate to Trump. Daniel's ruling rejected an effort by Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich -- two Democratic electors in Colorado -- to immediately prevent the enforcement of a state law that forces them to cast their electoral votes for Hillary Clinton when the Electoral College meets next week. Baca and Nemanich hoped that a favorable ruling would undermine similar statutes in 28 other states, including 14 where Trump won. The attorney for the electors, Jason Wesoky, has signaled to the court that he'll still pursue litigation in the matter.