posted at 4:31 pm on December 5, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
Allegheny County put Jill Stein’s conspiracy theories of ballot-machine tampering to the test — and the Greens came up empty, as WPXI in Pittsburgh reports. A recanvass of ballot machines in the second-most populous county in Pennsylvania resulted in no changes at all since Election Night, throwing the premise of Stein’s lawsuit into serious practical doubt. This won’t satisfy Stein’s supporters, which readers will see for themselves in this clip, but it might make a federal judge question the necessity of a recount in Pennsylvania that the state has rejected (via David Shawver):
Election officials in Allegheny County finished recanvassing dozens of voting districts Monday, with no changes in the election results.
A recanvass is not the same as a recount. Elections Division staff compared the final results from the voting machines in 52 districts to the results on the flash memory cards.
The recanvass took place under direction from an Allegheny county judge who denied a Republican objection to a demand from the Green Party. Rather than a hand recount, as Stein wants in every county, the recanvass checked each machine’s tally against the submission to the state. As uniformly expected from everyone but the Greens, the tallies matched up, showing no discrepancies and no indications of tampering.
This puts the county in position to certify its results, although they’re delaying that step to review more recount requests. Needless to say, Stein’s supporters still aren’t satisfied:
Douglas E. Lieb, an attorney for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, said in a three-page letter sent Sunday to Wolosik, the county elections head, that the county “has the authority and in fact the duty to permit forensic examination by independent experts” of machines and computers used in the election.
The federal court hearing Stein’s lawsuit might feel differently. Stein’s technically suing over the $1 million bond requirement for a recount demand, but she wants the judge to order a recount in any way she can get it. Her premise is that the ballot machines are unreliable, so this demonstration of reliability in a county that went heavily for Hillary Clinton (56.44% vs 40.03% for Donald Trump) should factor into the judge’s decision on an extraordinary demand for relief at taxpayers’ expense. But who knows? There seemed to be no reason to recount Wisconsin either, and judges still insisted on it — although not on hand recounts, as Stein wanted.
By the way, Nevada has begun a recount, too — a pilot sample demanded by an even fringier candidate than Stein. Its purpose is explicitly put the shoe on the other foot:
Meanwhile, a recount of a sample of ballots has begun in Nevada, at the request of independent presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente.
Clinton won in Nevada, and De La Fuente finished last. But De La Fuente requested and paid about $14,000 last week for the recount, which he called a counterbalance to the review sought by Stein in Wisconsin. If the sample shows a discrepancy of at least 1 percent for De La Fuente or Clinton, a full recount will be launched in all 17 Nevada counties.
Don’t hold your breath on this effort. Recounts don’t generate full-percentage-point changes; the range is almost always around 0.02%. Besides, De La Fuente was going to file a recount demand himself in Wisconsin before Stein beat him to it, and last week he was talking about filing for one in Florida, another Trump state. At least Nevada has a rational process of sampling results and checking for a problem before going all-in on statewide recounts. Pennsylvania has just conducted something similar in Allegheny, and maybe a federal judge will make use of that to tell Stein to pay up or go home.