Friday, December 2, 2016

Panicked GOP files lawsuit to stop Wisconsin recount

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
George Bernard Shaw

My, my, my, what a conundrum we are in.  Jill Stein, the Green Candidate for President, requested a recount of the votes cast in the State of Wisconsin in the November 8th election.  Wisconsin’s GOP thought they were immune to any scrutiny over their fraudulent elections and now they are panicking.  In June of 2016, Republican Governor Scott Walker replaced the non-partisan Government Accountability Board who oversaw elections in the state, with a partisan Election Board.  From Journal Sentinel:


Wisconsin GAB in final days as state's elections authority

Whether Wisconsin's unique nonpartisan elections board was a failed experiment or was so successful that it became a political target, this much is true: It goes away this week.

Targeted for elimination by Gov. Scott Walker and fellow Republicans who control the Legislature, the Government Accountability Board officially disbands as of Thursday. It was the only nonpartisan elections and oversight board in the country.

In its place are two new commissions made up of partisan appointees that will regulate Wisconsin's elections, ethics, campaign finance and lobbying laws.

The Election Board is overseeing the recount in Wisconsin that is currently taking place.  Jill Stein had unsuccessfully sued the Board’s decision to allow machine recounts in Wisconsin’s 72 counties, pursuing “hand counts” of the ballots.  Hand counts are considered the most accurate and uniform method of counting the votes.  From Milwaukee Patch:


Campaign urges counties to follow recommendation of the judge and "conduct a hand recount, which she called the ‘gold standard.’”

Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate who requested a recount of Wisconsin’s nearly 3 million presidential ballots to quell hacking fears, doesn’t plan to appeal after a judge rejected her lawsuit requesting a hand-count, the campaign said Wednesday…

Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn said in her ruling that the Stein campaign hadn’t met Wisconsin’s high threshold for a hand-count of the ballots, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported…

Bailey-Rihn said there were good reasons for a hand-recount, but neither the Stein nor Clinton campaigns showed a legal basis — such as fraud — for her to mandate it.  “I follow the law. That’s who I am despite my personal opinions," Bailey-Rihn said. “It’s (the counties’) decision. It’s their discretion. I may disagree with it…but I must follow the law.”

Under Wisconsin law, county election officials may decide whether to recount the ballots by machine or order a hand-recount. At least 56 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, including Dane, plan a hand-count.

Donald Trump didn’t help the GOP’s cause on Sunday morning when he assured the nation a recount of the 2016 election wouldn't change the outcome and was a waste of resources.  In a tweetstorm, he quoted Hillary Clinton’s concession speech and made his own claims of election fraud.  From The Washington Post:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump:
·        Trump is going to be our President. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead." So much time and money will be spent - same result! Sad
·        In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
·        Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California - so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias - big problem!
·        On Sunday morning, President-elect Donald Trump assured us all that a recount of the 2016 election wouldn't change the outcome and was a waste of resources.

Given the acknowledgement by Donald Trump that there was massive fraud in the 2016 election, I would think that the Republicans as well as the Democrats would insist on a nationwide recount to assure Americans as well as the world that American elections are legitimate.  But, alas I would be wrong as a matter of fact, the GOP has now filed a lawsuit requesting a judge stop the Wisconsin recount.  From the Journal Sentinel:


Trump supporters file suit to stop recount

Madison — Using a famous legal precedent, supporters of Republican Donald Trump filed a federal lawsuit Friday to stop a recount of the presidential vote in Wisconsin and safeguard the president elect's Nov. 8 victory here.

The lawsuit contends, in part, that the state's recount process is unconstitutional because ballots aren't treated equally in all cases — a standard established in the 2000 U.S. Supreme Court case that halted a recount in Florida and left Republican George W. Bush as the winner of that year's presidential race with Democrat Al Gore.

Say what??  The GOP demands that the uniform, accurate “hand count” be denied and then claims the recount unconstitutional because the counts aren’t conducted “accurately and uniformly.”  What a load.  And not only that, they are claiming a violation of Trump’s rights under the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, using the Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in Bush v. Gore as precedent.  From Wikipedia:


Equal Protection Clause

Bush argued that recounts in Florida violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because Florida did not have a statewide vote recount standard. Each county was on its own to determine whether a given ballot was an acceptable one. Two voters could have marked their ballots in an identical manner, but the ballot in one county would be counted while the ballot in a different county would be rejected, due to the conflicting manual recount standards. [24]

Gore argued that there was indeed a statewide standard, the "intent of the voter" standard, and that this standard was sufficient under the Equal Protection Clause.[25] Furthermore, Gore argued that the consequence of ruling the Florida recount unconstitutional simply because it treated different voters differently would effectively render every state election unconstitutional [26] and that each method has a different rate of error in counting votes… If Bush wins, Gore argued, every state would have to have one statewide method of recording votes to be constitutional.

It was a bulls*&t argument in 2000 and is now.  The partisan Supreme Court could have ordered a uniform method of recount such as a “hand count” like the Florida Supreme Court ordered but was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The decision was not based on the constitution and was bogus.  So much so that the Supreme Court ordered that their decision “COULD NOT BE USED AS PRECEDENT IN ANY OTHER ELECTION CASE.”

Some critics of the decision argue that the majority seemed to seek refuge from their own logic [46] [47] in the following sentence in the majority opinion [48] "Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities…"

Critics, however, interpreted the sentence as stating that the case did not set precedent in any way and could not be used to justify any future court decision, and some suggested that this was evidence the majority realized its holding was untenable.

So what is going on here?  What is the GOP trying to hide in Wisconsin?  Maybe the answer can be found in Alternet:


Pressure Builds for Presidential Recounts in a Key 2016 Swing State

Pressure is mounting to re-examine the presidential vote in Wisconsin, where a series of screenshots posted Tuesday showed electronically tallied countywide counts erroneously added in thousands more votes to the totals than the ballots cast.

“It doesn't garner public confidence to see errors like this in election results, especially in a close battleground state,” wrote Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor and voter turnout expert, who on Tuesday posted an image of the electronically calculated count in Sauk County, Wisconsin, showing 2,700 more votes tallied than ballots cast

McDonald’s tweet was not the only one surfacing Tuesday showing this over-counting anomaly. As Susan Eraslan wrote after posting similar screenshots, “The numbers display that in 3 precincts in Outagamie County, all won by DT, more votes were counted for president than cast. Follow-up tweets found 1,500 more votes tallied than ballots cast, but soon after those screen shots were posted they were said to be corrected—or deleted.”

“To be clear: Certified results in just one Wisconsin county bring Trump’s margin of victory down almost 7 percent. We don’t know about others,” tweeted Dan Solomon, who followed up with more vote-count tabulation screenshots. “Okay, this is very significant…

The vote count snafus in these two counties are among a dozen counties identified by election integrity activists as reporting improbably high turnout levels—above 85 percent—in the presidential election. “Either these voter turnout percentages are an historic achievement, unparalleled in my experience, or the unofficial results are not true and correct,” wrote Richard Hayes Phillips, a PhD statistician, in an early analysis of 12 Wisconsin counties, including Sauk and Outagamie counties.

Later Tuesday, McDonald tweeted that 10,000 votes were added to Trump's totals in Pennsylvania, increasing his lead from 58,000 to 68,000 votes. Here, too, it's not clear if that was a tabulation error or would be corrected, he said. "Most likely this was a bonafide error corrected in a county canvass. But if one is of this magnitude, who is to say there aren't others?"

This recount isn’t about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, this is about America’s elections.  This recount is about a corrupt two party system that is out of control.  This recount is about Republican control of the Senate and House as well as the Supreme Court.  If the American people cannot hold their “elected” officials accountable through an honest election system, then America doesn’t exist.  Our American soldiers are dying in foreign lands for nothing if we have lost the ability to determine our own destiny. 

The GOP is claiming they have a mandate from the American people to slash Social Security, Medicare, Veterans’ benefits, infrastructure spending and gift the savings to their banking benefactors and the Democrats are letting them.  The GOP claims this mandate was given to them during the 2016 election when we “voted them into office.”  

We must have the truth or else everything we believed in was a lie.  That is why the GOP is panicked about the Wisconsin recount as well as the recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania.  We must know the truth about our elections and the millionaires who determine our destiny.

By Patricia Baeten

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