By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features
Let’s be clear: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.5 million votes (the largest number for anyone who didn’t actually win the presidency) and pretty much by the margin that was forecast. She wasn’t a “bad” candidate. It wasn’t that she didn’t talk enough about an economic policy that would lift up everyone, or that she didn’t have enough policies. It wasn’t that she didn’t offer the so-called white working class a vision of a better future. The election was stolen.
Yet, she lost every “toss-up” battleground state by the narrowest of margins, only 1-2%, resulting in Trump winning the Electoral College votes (theoretically; there is still hope the voters will do the right thing and cast their ballot for the winner of the popular vote).
Does anyone doubt that if the situation reversed and Trump won the popular vote by millions but failed by thousands to win the Electoral Vote that Trump would have fought the result up to the Supreme Court (a la Bush v Gore), and his minions would have taken to the streets with guns? Even now, he is fomenting the lie that three million votes were cast illegally. This is who claims the presidency?
But in a brilliant manipulation, Trump railed about how the election would be stolen (from him), forcing Democrats –and particularly Hillary Clinton – to assert that American elections have integrity, and that any challenge would undermine the essence of a democratic republic, a peaceful transition of power, in order to prevent any contest. They were played, as is apparent with Trump replaying Clinton’s own statements (omitting the fact that it was Green Party candidate Jill Stein, not Clinton, who is demanding recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania). This isn’t up to Hillary Clinton or anyone. The voters need to know if the votes were accurately counted.
Meanwhile, Trump is now trumpeting – without any proof – that 3 million votes were cast illegally (the only person I have heard who was caught casting 2 ballots was a Des Moines woman who voted twice for Trump). And if he believes that, he more than anyone, should be demanding recounts.
It is apparent that the shortfall in Electoral Votes was chiefly the result of Voter Suppression, with states unleashed by the weakening of the Voting Rights Act, and voter repression tactics in key sections of swing states designed (successfully) to shift 1-2% of the votes. This was clear in Wisconsin and North Carolina. But there is evidence also that in some key districts, the electronic voting machines may have been hacked in order to give the win to Trump, which demands proper audit and recount to assure Americans the rightful outcome of the election.
Add to this the reports that Russia hacked some state elections rolls, interfered with the election by hacking into Democratic National Committee and by paying trolls to disseminate false news (viewed 15 million times). Is it so implausible that a few – not an entire state – but enough precincts which rely on electronic voting without a paper trail could be hacked?
“Americans should demand this simple step to ensure that the machinery of democracy worked.
DFA members have spent years working to ensure our elections are fair, accessible, and verifiable,” Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America, wrote in an email.
This shouldn’t even be controversial. There should be routine audit after every election to assure that the electronic tallies conform with paper ballots, and full recounts where less than 2% margin separates the winners. Most urgently, given the fact that we have now seen cyber warfare with penetration of even the most secure government sites including the National Security Agency, electronic-only voting systems should be replaced with systems that generate a paper trail.
The Department of Justice was mum when I asked whether or how many complaints have been filed – whether voters found they were purged from the rolls when they arrived to vote, or whether long lines or inaccessible polling places kept them from casting their ballot.
“The Justice Department does not tally the number of callers to determine whether federal action is warranted. Investigatory decisions are based solely on the facts and evidence as they relate to the federal statutes the department enforces.”
But with Republicans now content they have found the means to control power without needing to secure a majority of voters – not for the House, the Senate or now the White House – necessary election reforms will never happen. And Trump is already signaling further attacks on voting rights, under the guise of promulgating the lie of rampant “voter fraud.”
That’s why this audit is so important now. And why the Electoral College should make the moral choice and cast their votes for Clinton.
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