Dr. Jill Stein’s remarks
at the foot of Trump Tower, New York City on December 5, 2016,
regarding the Green Party’s ongoing efforts for a reliable ballot recount
[Note: The following transcript is taken from the video recorded on Monday, December 5, 2016.]
By Dr. Jill Stein
Green Party candidate for President of the United States
We are here today to stand up for a vote that is accurate, secure, fair, and just—in which every vote counts, and every vote is counted. This, in fact, is what makes America great—the promise of democracy, and the promise of justice for all.
We’re celebrating today a judicial decision last night in Michigan by Judge Mark Goldsmith, who affirmed in his decision that this recount advances our fundamental right to vote—and election fairness, and accuracy; and that these things are the bedrock of our democracy.
At the center of the recount in Michigan is this question of some 75,000 blank votes—so-called “undervotes”—a large increase over all undervotes in prior elections by about 70%, raising the possibility that communities of color have been disenfranchised by an erroneous counting of the vote. (These blank votes center particularly in the counties in which Detroit exists.)
These blank votes vastly exceed the margin of difference between the two leading candidates. So, these votes are important, and it’s important that a miscount—or a dismissal—of votes in the communities of color not be contributing to an erroneous outcome.
We say this because it’s known that this is commonly what happens: that the voters in the communities of color are not only discouraged before they even come to the polls—by being wiped off the voter rolls and things like interstate cross-check, or by voter ID laws that discourage communities of color from coming out to vote—but also in the voting booth itself and in the counting of the votes.
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission, in fact, established that the odds of your vote being miscounted by human or machine error is increased massively by about 900% if you are voting in a community of color. So this is not simply an abstract concern. This is a very real concern, that votes of color be respected and [it] be reaffirmed that they are not, once again, being tossed into the dustbin and disrespected.
So we are standing firm for the hard-won and hard-fought right to vote, particularly by people of color in this country. We will not give in to intimidation, to legal maneuvering, and to bureaucratic obstruction. We celebrate, especially, all the local election officials—and the volunteers particularly in the states of Wisconsin and Michigan—where the recount is now proceeding full speed ahead with respect for a hand recount of the paper ballots. This is the gold standard, as the judge in Wisconsin affirmed last week, saying that, in fact, this is the gold standard and encouraging all of the local election bureaus and boards to recount with that election counting standard.
Pennsylvania[-17:40] In Pennsylvania, unfortunately, the court system and election system is politically entrenched and has been fighting this process at every step. For example, the Trump campaign has filed now to call for 27,000 affidavits in 9,000 voting precincts in order to verify the vote—in order to proceed with a recount in any precinct. This is an absolutely ridiculous and obscene form of bureaucratic obstruction. In addition, a million dollar bond was going to be imposed on one hundred votes who were calling for a statewide recount. Add to that: the court date was being advanced to a time at which it would be impossible to provide the evidence that would be required for that court date.
So, to make a long story short, it’s clear that ‘the fix was in’ against a verified vote in the state of Pennsylvania. So we are now moving to federal court, to ask the court to please support and stand up for our constitutional right to vote, as expressed in the decision last night by the Michigan judge. That right to vote is embodied in this recount effort, to ensure that we have a fair and accurate election that we can trust.
So, we are here to assure Donald Trump that there is nothing to be afraid of. If you believe in democracy, if you believe in the credibility of your victory, put down your arms. End your bureaucratic obstruction. End your intimidation. And join We the People of America—who are calling for a democracy that serves all of us, and elections that we can trust.
So, with that, we look forward to continuing to work with all of you in this grassroots movement to ensure that we can trust the results of this election and to make the improvements that we need, so that we don’t need to jump through all kinds of bureaucratic hoops in the future, [that] we don’t need to hold bake sales on steroids to try to raise millions and millions of dollars, simply to make sure that our vote is accurate, secure, and fair. It is the constitutional right of all of us that we are standing up for today.