Vote check upgrade correct settlement of 2016 lawsuit

A suit filed in 2016 by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein seeking recounts of the presidential votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan struck as sour grapes.

The lawsuit accused Pennsylvania of violating the constitutional rights of voters because the voting machines were susceptible to hacking and barriers to a recount were pervasive.

We seriously doubt if the same suit would have been filed if the presidential results in those three states were different.

Nevertheless, we support the terms of Gov. Tom Wolf’s settling of the vote-count lawsuit.

Wolf reaffirmed a commitment made previously to push Pennsylvania’s counties to buy voting systems that leave a verifiable paper trail by 2020.

The verifiable paper trail is a viable insurance policy against hacking. Four in five Pennsylvania voters are using voting machines that lack an auditable paper trail.

Pennsylvania is one of 13 states where most or all voters use antiquated machines that store votes electronically without printed ballots or other paper-based backups that could be used to double-check the vote.

There is no evidence that any presidential votes in Pennsylvania were tampered with in 2016.

But in this electronic age it is foolhardy to think it can’t happen and risky to not have safeguards in place if there is evidence of attempts to doctor the voting process in any way.

The state of Florida has become a national embarrassment for a variety of election mishaps dating back to the start of this century.

The lack of a fair voting insurance policy leaves – at the minimum – the appearance and/or opportunity to politically trifle with the voting process.

Pennsylvania does not need that sort of embarrassment in future elections, including the 2020 presidential contest.

Wolf’s call to make sure all Pennsylvania counties have in place a viable check on the 2020 election results is the correct settlement of the 2016 lawsuit.

Hopefully, it guarantees a credible election count and is not the avenue for a frivolous, sour-grapes lawsuit.


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