On today's BradCast, state and federal court rulings, shameful 'recount' laws and other outrageous obstacles preventing citizen oversight of Presidential election results in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere. And, as if that's all not disturbing enough, wait until you hear who Trump is reportedly tapping to head up the Environmental Protection Agency! [Audio link posted below]
Our "Recount" 2016 coverage continues today, on the heels of "dueling" federal and state court rulings on Tuesday night in Green Party candidate Jill Stein's fight to continue hand-counts in Michigan, hundreds of precincts across the state (including tens of thousands of ballots) are being declared "unrecountable" by state officials --- for often absurd reasons. We explain those rulings as we await what is likely to be a federal court order ending all counting in the state by tomorrow, despite Trump's razor thin 10,000 vote statewide margin of just one-tenth of one-percent over Hillary Clinton.
Another court ruling comes down today against Stein's suit for a forensic analyses of 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems used in Philadelphia, prompting plans to seek same in state court. And the counting (and computer re-scanning) continues in Wisconsin, despite efforts by Team Trump to stop counting and oversight immediately in all three states.
We're joined today by author, former attorney and longtime election integrity advocate Paul Lehto to discuss all of the above and much more, including how failed tabulation systems, woeful election law, and extraordinary legal challenges in at least six courts in three states to block all oversight is little more than an invitation for future fraud.
On MI's "outrageous" law resulting in hundreds of "unrecountable" precincts in Detroit alone, Lehto charges: "All you need to do is add an extra ballot without adjusting the poll books, which makes it easier to do fraud or easier create an error. And that error or fraud is insulated from ever affecting the results. If somebody did want to do fraud, it's like a dream for them."
"But here's the thing: it doesn't really matter, from the perspective of democracy, whether it's an error or whether it's a fraud. Because we're only interested in the true vote count," he tells me. "But in this case, Michigan law itself is protecting and creating 'safe harbor' for both errors and fraud."
"Don't count on anything happening after Election Night," Lehto has long warned. "Why? Number one: everybody wants to avoid embarrassment. Nobody wants to be the next Florida. So everybody in the state government and the elections bureau is working really, really hard not to be embarrassed, and that's a non-partisan interest that really goes against transparency. The other thing is that 100 percent of all election law is made by election winners, who absolutely do not want their victories to be questioned. So that's another factor why you can never really count on getting good election laws for post-election remedies, because everybody that's voting on it is a winner and they don't want losers --- or what they would call 'sore losers' --- questioning their great victory. So basically that leaves democracy defenseless."
As he describes the evolution of the Election Integrity movement over the past decade, Lehto concludes our system amounts to "basically: certify first, ask questions later." He says post-election audits or "recounts" are ultimately "not sufficient, no matter who you are. The only option is to get it right on election night."
Also on today's show, in case you still don't believe elections and democracy matter: Trump will reportedly nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt --- a climate change denier, opponent of environmental regulations, and long-time fossil-fuel industry tool --- to head up the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)