The surprise electoral college map results for 2016 last week still have many scratching their heads on both sides of the aisle. A Washington Post-ABC News Poll taken right after the election results were projected for Donald Trump as the new President-elect revealed that many Hillary Clinton supporters and even some Donald Trump supporters do not feel Donald Trump’s win was legitimate.
Many today that are not accepting the electoral college map 2016 results as legitimate are calling for election audits or election recounts. There are ways voters can still have their voices heard before the electoral college meets on December 19 to finalize the electoral college map results of 2016.
USA Today reports that an election audit would constitute an audit of a small sample of the votes cast in elections 2016, and audit results would reveal if there were discrepancies that required further investigation. An election recount, however, would require a complete recount of every single vote in the states or precincts that requested it and would be more time consuming, expensive, and also cost-prohibitive if the results of the recount came out the same as the current results of electoral college map for 2016.
Many feel that audit and recount concerns are warranted, however, in light of news from the Wall Street Journal this week that intelligence officials in the United States have “reiterated” Russian responsibility for interfering with the United States election. Even GOP Senator Lindsay Graham, and long-time critic of Donald Trump, has asked Congress to investigate the cyber-attack from Russia on the American election and Democratic National Committee reports the L.A. Times.
Tweet storms calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Department of Justice to investigate the elections 2016 results and #AuditTheVote hashtags have also begun to trend on Twitter.
USA Today reports that while polls going into an election do have a level of degree of uncertainty, elections results for 2016 were “consistently off,” and things like a high number of “no votes” for president on thousands of ballots have “aroused suspicion.”
USA today reports that a majority of the 130 million votes placed for elections 2016 were done by computerized ballot, but errors could occur as computers can not define human intent, and computers are prone to hacking and “software can have bugs.” USA Today says that approximately 25 percent of voters also used machines that did not have a tracking record or leave a paper trail.
Global Research, a company in Canada, reports that even some of the electronic machines used in the American election did not have enough electronic oversight, citing the new tamper proof machines in Ohio where the audit function was turned off on election day. Global Research reports that Ohio just received new election machines for election day, that were said to have a “brand new anti-hacking capability.”
The capability would allow the machines to take a picture of the vote as it was being cast and make a time stamp. But, Republican Secretary of State of Ohio reportedly allowed county officials to turn that feature off for this election, and no explanation as to why was provided.
Discrepancies such as this have led to a new trend on Twitter: #AuditTheVote. Many Congressional Dems have already reportedly expressed concern.
There are things that citizens can do if they think a vote audit of the electoral college map results for 2016 is warranted.
USA Today reports that an audit of the vote is much easier and less expensive and time-consuming than an actual vote recount in light of voter’s concerns. It is referred to as a “risk-limiting audit” and involves an examination of a small fraction of the votes cast. If the results of the audit match the electoral college map 2016 results, a vote recount would not be necessary.
Risk limit audits have been endorsed by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration and many other organizations involved in election integrity. USA Today reports that some states are required to audit the vote, while others are not as there is no federal law in place. However, USA Today also notes that in order for this election to be audited, “immediate legal action” would be required.
States where the contest wasn’t close would not need an audit or a recount. But the swing states where the largest number of voter suppression incidents have been reported would narrow the field, and expenses, of a vote audit.
USA Today says that in the states where Trump had a small margin, an audit would reveal discrepancies. If an audit revealed a large margin for Hillary Clinton in a state called for Donald Trump, it would be sufficient evidence to warrant further legal investigation. USA Today also says that conducting an audit at this level in these swing states “does not take much technology” and are calculations that “could be done by a fifth-grader.”
States have until December 13 to provide final 2016 electoral college map results to the Electoral College reports USA Today. In addition to calling local representatives of Congress and the house judiciary committee, citizens can sign a petition on Change Org demanding an audit of the 2016 election results.
The states that have most people requesting a vote audit or recount of are the swing states where the margins were close, or, peculiar. Alternet reports that in North Carolina, Hillary Clinton was projected to win, but Donald Trump won by 178,000 votes. The Senate race in North Carolina also won by that same margin, which is consistent with a Republican voting for Trump and the GOP Senate at the same time.
What is not consistent, however, is that North Carolina was subject to many concerns on election day such as voter registration databases being down, long lines, delays, and provisional ballots, reports Alternet.
Many associate provisional ballots as a reason Hillary Clinton did not win North Carolina, and some other states, as they are frequently associated with voter roll purges. Heavy reports that in Arizona, for example, if a voter fills out a provisional ballot at a polling location you are not supposed to be in, the vote will not be counted. The rise in provisional ballots in this election has led North Carolina officials to call on North Carolina citizens to contact them for help to make sure their votes are counted if they used a provisional ballot on election day.
Alternet also reports that if there is any state that requests a recount first, it would likely be the swing state of Wisconsin, due to the fact that its legal window to file for such would occur by November 26. Whether that will happen remains to be seen due to the fact that recounts are expensive, reportedly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars mark, and costs fall to the candidate seeking the recount.
In Michigan, Alternet reports that 87,000 votes did not mark down a presidential vote, or at least those were the elections 2016 results on election night. This is reportedly a historical precedent, and a recount of those votes would be warranted to see if the votes were read properly. In Michigan, a recount would cost a candidate seeking a recount $125 per precinct, and Michigan has a total of 4,800 precincts reports Alternet.
It’s not impossible, however, and the deadline for the candidate or individual seeking a recount opens after the state meets November 28.
Alternet reports that in Pennsylvania, small margins indicate that a recount might be warranted, or at least investigated in light of the Russian hacks reported by the intelligence community. Donald Trump’s vote differential in Pennsylvania was 68,000 votes, tabulated on a system that uses old electronic machines that did not leave a paper trail reports Alternet. Alternet also says the machines had “old versions of Microsoft operating systems” that are vulnerable to security threats that “have never been fixed.”
November 23 is the last day for the Secretary of State of Pennsylvania to ask for a recount, with a fee of $50 per precinct to be paid.
Whether the final electoral college map results of 2016 will change remains to be seen, but voters still have many opportunities to let their voice be heard.
[Featured Image by Patrick Sison/AP Images]