In August of this year, Greg Palast wrote an article warning about voter suppression and the role it might play in the vote. Specifically, Palast warned about Crosscheck, the program which claims to match names and Social Security numbers across participating states.
We had Mark Swedlund, a database expert whose clients include eBay and American Express, look at the data from Georgia and Virginia, and he was shocked by Crosscheck's "childish methodology." He added, "God forbid your name is Garcia, of which there are 858,000 in the U.S., and your first name is Joseph or Jose. You're probably suspected of voting in 27 states."
As he explained in this segment with Joy Reid, the issue of recounts has little to do with Russian hackers or machine tampering. It has more to do with poorly calibrated machines, old equipment, and efforts to keep eligible voters from voting.
The Clinton campaign announced this morning they are also joining the recount efforts.
Beyond the post-election audit, Green Party candidate Jill Stein announced Friday that she will exercise her right as a candidate to pursue a recount in the state of Wisconsin. She has indicated plans to also seek recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides. If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well. We do so fully aware that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount. But regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself.
The Clinton campaign's bottom line is pretty simple: We didn't see any patterns or problems but now that a recount is underway, we will join.
This is good for our democracy, although no one should assume it will change the outcome. No one should raise hopes of that. But as Palast explains, "It's not about Russians hacking, not about playing games with the software. It's about machines being miscalibrated."
He continued, "This is a technical process. Forget the hacking stuff. Forget the conspiracy stuff. Forget the Russians. This recount and review of the ballots being thrown out and disqualified by the tens of thousands swamps Trump's plurality in several states."
Reid interrupted to ask, "Could the throwing out of absentee ballots come been combined with knocking people off the voter rolls combined with not counting their provisionals account for that difference?
Palast congratulated her, saying, "You got it! I think you're the first journalist to get it in America. When you leave an exit poll you say you voted. They don't ask you if your vote counted. Did you vote on a provisional ballot? Was it thrown out for a technical reason, et cetera?"
His point is one well-taken. There are a ton of conspiracy theories running around on the left right now imagining that a recount will change the outcome of the election somehow. It probably won't. But it's high time to address the voter suppression efforts in this country, which is executed in a number of different ways. Put enough of them together and the suppressors eke out the win.
If there is a reason for the recount, this is it. If we cannot identify all of the areas where suppressive measures work, how can we fix them?