Allegheny County certifies election results: Clinton still won, forensic analysis won’t happen

It happened in three minutes.

David Voye, manager of balloting and returns, read vote totals from a paper tape on Dec. 5.

David Voye, manager of balloting and returns, read vote totals from a paper tape on Dec. 5.

Sarah Anne Hughes / The Incline
Sarah Anne Hughes

Yes, Hillary Clinton won Allegheny County.

No, the recount here didn’t change that.

After a delay of more than a dozen days, Allegheny County certified the results of the November 2016 election this morning — in just three minutes.

“Everything is in order,” Elections Division Manager Mark Wolosik told the three-person Elections Board: County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Council President John DeFazio and at-large Councilmember Samuel DeMarco III.

The Monday morning meeting at the county courthouse was a subdued end to an unexpectedly dramatic election certification process.

The end result is also one voters can be confident in, Fitzgerald told The Incline.

The Elections Board was set to certify election results on Nov. 28. But the board pushed the certification to Monday, Dec. 12 in order to consider requests from hundreds of voters in precincts sprinkled throughout the county for a recount and a forensic analysis of voting machines. Voters in 52 precincts didn’t get the latter, but the county did hold a recanvass of machines of those voting districts last week. The recanvass — during which vote totals from election-night printouts were compared to totals from internal flash drives — didn’t turn up anything out of the ordinary.

The push for recounts statewide was spurred by Jill Stein, whose request that voting machines and paper ballots be recounted in some parts of Pennsylvania was denied by a federal judge Monday morning. Per Billy Penn:

Federal judge Paul S. Diamond dismissed her request in a ruling this morning, saying in his conclusion “Granting her later than last minute request for relief, however, could well ensure that no Pennsylvania vote counts. Such a result would be both outrageous and completely unnecessary; as I have found, suspicion of a ‘hacked’ Pennsylvania election borders on the irrational.”

An attorney for the Green Party presidential candidate also unsuccessfully appealed to Allegheny County’s Elections Division and a Common Pleas judge for a forensic analysis of machines paid for by the Stein campaign.

Fitzgerald said voters, including those who wanted a forensic analysis, can be confident in the results he helped certify Monday.

“Those machines are well protected,” Fitzgerald said. “They’re not connected to the internet. They’re locked in a warehouse and monitored. For somebody to get in and undo or hack 4,000-some machines would be pretty difficult.”

But “moving forward,” he said, “there could possibly be ways in which all machines have some sort of verifiable … paper tracking.”

It’s an issue the state legislature needs to work on, Fitzgerald said, as well as the feds.

“I realize in these contentious elections, folks who don’t win are upset. And they would like a change,” he said, adding that Clinton’s popular vote lead is nearing three million votes.

“The will of the people hasn’t been listened to.”