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Green Party's Jill Stein on Obstacles to Vote Recount: "This is Not What Democracy Looks Like"

StoryDecember 09, 2016
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Jill Stein

2016 presidential nominee for the Green Party.

A Wisconsin judge is set to decide if a recount of the state’s presidential vote can proceed. We speak with Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who has requested recounts in three states where Donald Trump narrowly beat Hillary Clinton: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. But Stein has faced obstacles in all three states. Today’s hearing in Wisconsin comes after two pro-Trump groups, the Great America PAC and the Stop Hillary PAC, filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the recount process. Meanwhile, in Michigan, a judge has already halted the recount. Another hearing will be held in Pennsylvania today to decide if a recount there can begin.


TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: In election news, a federal judge is holding a hearing today in Wisconsin to decide if a recount of the state’s presidential vote can proceed. Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein requested recounts in three states where Donald Trump narrowly beat Hillary Clinton: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. But Stein has faced obstacles in all three states. Today’s hearing in Wisconsin comes after two pro-Trump groups—the Great America PAC and the Stop Hillary PAC—filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the recount process. Meanwhile, in Michigan, a judge has already halted the recount this week. A hearing will be held in Pennsylvania today to decide if a recount there can begin.

Joining us, Dr. Jill Stein.

Welcome back to Democracy Now!

DR. JILL STEIN: Great to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what’s happening in Wisconsin?

DR. JILL STEIN: Well, what’s happening in Wisconsin is what’s happening, really, in all three states where the recount is proceeding, and really is what is happening all over America. This is not what democracy looks like. The recount asks the question: Do we have a voting system which is accurate, secure and just? And is this a voting system we can trust? We attempted to verify the vote. We are still fighting to do that. And the 10,000 and more volunteers who are involved at the community level are fighting on.

But there has been obstruction at every turn, including gamesmanship in the courts. Donald Trump, his PACs, the Republican Party have basically created a minefield everywhere that they can, at every possible turn, to create legal hurdles. The cost has been raised to an outrageous price. Wisconsin started at $1.1 million, raised the price to $3.5 million. The idea that we should have—we, ordinary citizens, in order to have a vote we can be confident in, should have to go out and raise millions and millions of dollars in order to do that is absolutely outrageous.

AMY GOODMAN: So explain what’s happening in Wisconsin.

DR. JILL STEIN: So, in Wisconsin, there is a case, which was actually filed at least a week ago. And the fact that it was not scheduled to be heard until the very end of this process, as Wisconsin is wrapping up, tells you that the courts are not taking this case too seriously. We don’t expect this case to have an impact. However, we are continuing to fight in Milwaukee, where it’s most important that we have a hand count. Yet, in Milwaukee, as in many other communities of color, that hand recount is being blocked, and essentially a button is being pushed on the same fallible machines, prone to tampering, misprogramming, miscalibration. This is why this voting system is essentially a de facto Jim Crow, and we have essentially de facto Jim Crow elections.

AMY GOODMAN: USA Today writes, "Green Party candidate Jill Stein is in line for a big check from the state of Michigan after the recount she requested was stopped by a federal judge and the state Board of Canvassers after only three days of counting ballots. Under state law, Stein had to pay $125 per precinct—or $973,250—to count Michigan’s [close to 8,000] in-person and absentee voting precincts. That check was delivered to state officials when she requested the recount last week." What happens now?

DR. JILL STEIN: Now we go to the Supreme Court in the state of Michigan. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a kangaroo court, including two judges who were actually on Donald Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees. And this is really—characterizes the whole process. It’s really been very much been an exercise in—you know, in political cronyism throughout. The attorney general, who is also a crony of Donald Trump’s, has also attempted to obstruct the recount.

AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday, we had John Bonifaz on, and he was commenting on the difference between how Bush dealt with the 2004 request for recount and what’s happening today, that Bush’s lawyers didn’t even show up places, but Trump’s lawyers are deeply involved at every level.

DR. JILL STEIN: Exactly.

AMY GOODMAN: Why?

DR. JILL STEIN: Well, I think it speaks volumes that Donald Trump is not confident in the outcome of this vote and is very worried. In Michigan, the difference turned out to be 10,000 votes. That’s the margin of difference between Clinton and Trump. Yet there are 75,000 votes which are mysteriously blank, which should be hand-recounted. That recount is essentially being blocked in the communities where it’s most likely to make a difference—that is, in the communities of color, particularly around Detroit.

AMY GOODMAN: And in Pennsylvania?

DR. JILL STEIN: In Pennsylvania—Pennsylvania is an incredible bureaucratic mess with these 9,000 precincts, each of which have to be handled differently. In Pennsylvania, we’ll be in court today, actually, pressing the case forward for a statewide recount. You know, at this point, we are pushing ahead, and we are building this movement, which is not going to be stopped by political cronyism and economic extortion. We deserve a right to vote, and we deserve the right to be confident in that vote, to have automatic recounts when it’s close, to get rid of these fallible voting machines.

AMY GOODMAN: We will have to leave it there, Dr. Jill Stein, 2016 presidential nominee of the Green Party.

And that does it for our show. If you’d like to see our 20th anniversary Democracy Now! event at Riverside Church, you can go online to see the whole thing, with Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Noam Chomsky, Juan González, Jeremy Scahill and many others, also performing, as well, Patti Smith and Tom Morello. Democracynow.org is the place to go.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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