Allegheny County’s Elections Division today said it will recanvass voting machines in 52 of its 1,322 districts, after voters in those areas requested reviews of the results in the presidential and Senate elections.
“There were 91 election districts in which 109 recanvass petitions were filed that did not contain the required minimum amount of three affidavits per election district,” per the county.
The 52 districts — most of which are in Pittsburgh — will be recanvassed at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 5 in the County Office Building, Elections Division Manager Mark Wolosik announced today in a press release.
Each candidate may be present in person, or by attorney, and each party or body may send two representatives to be present at the recanvass to observe. The petition/affidavits are specific to the vote for President of the United States and United States Senate.
As previously announced, the recanvass will use Elections Division staff. The election-night voting machine results tapes will be reconciled against the redundant memory flash card totals.
“We also expect that there will be no further update on this issue until after the recanvassing on Monday,” county spokeswoman Amie Downs said.
‘Asking for a voter machine recanvass’
The county Board of Elections was set to certify election results on the morning of Monday, Nov. 28. Instead, the board said it would reconvene the meeting Dec. 12 to give the Elections Division time to respond to voters filing affidavits for a recount or recanvass, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported.
As the county explained in a press release Monday, “At this point, there is no order from the Secretary of State, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Election Code, to recount the returns for an office on this past November’s election.”
The Election Code, however, also provides that individual petitions/affidavits can be filed by registered voters asking for a voting machine recanvass in their specific voting district.
If three petitions/affidavits are received in any one voting district, a recanvass will be done in that specific district. The petition/affidavits are requesting a recanvass of the vote for President of the United States and for United States Senate. As petitions/affidavits are continuing to be filed, we are unable to provide a number or information on potential districts which will be recanvassed at this time.
So why a recanvass, instead of a recount?
Per Pennsylvania law, either can be triggered in a voting district if three voters sign affidavits claiming “that an error, although not apparent on the face of the returns, has been committed therein.”
“In a county in which an election district uses voting machines,” the law also reads, election officers recanvass voting machines; in districts that use papers ballots, election officers recount votes from the ballot box.
The process of recanvassing involves reconciling “the election-night voting machine results tapes … against the redundant memory flash card totals,” per Allegheny County.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the Green Party’s Jill Stein announced her intention to raise millions of dollars to “demand” recounts in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (She’s over $6.4 million.) and later sought volunteer voters to request recounts or recanvasses across the state.
As Billy Penn has reported, a recount in Pennsylvania can happen in three ways — each of them with their own difficulties.
The third way a recount can occur is if a candidate files in court and can present evidence showing there’s a probability of widespread voter fraud in the state — enough that the court would deem the state’s election results compromised.
Stein is taking that approach to getting a recount in Pennsylvania. A lawyer for Stein filed a lawsuit Monday afternoon to secure a recount in all 67 counties, and, today, her camp got a court date and a deadline of Dec. 13 for a conclusive decision on the suit.