Stein Will Pay For Presidential Recount
Green Party wants recount of narrow Trump wins in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who finished fourth in the presidential election, has announced her party will pay for a recount of the results in Wisconsin, and is still raising money to pay for recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Stein has already raised $4.8 million to pay for the recounts, including an estimated cost of $1.1 million in Wisconsin. All three states were narrow wins for Republican Donald Trump, who won the electoral college but lost the popular vote, and should those states flip to Democrat Hillary Clinton, she would win an electoral vote majority.
Stein’s challenge is ironic, as the liberal’s quixotic candidacy may have denied Clinton a victory; in Wisconsin Stein got 30,000 votes and Trump won by just 27,000 votes.
Clinton has been urged by prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in the three swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, New York magazine has reported. “The group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results… may have been manipulated or hacked” in those states. They have declined to speak about this to media, however, and were focused on lobbying the Clinton team in private.
“Last Thursday, the activists held a conference call with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias to make their case,” the magazine reports. “The academics presented findings showing that in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000. While it’s important to note the group has not found proof of hacking or manipulation, they are arguing to the campaign that the suspicious pattern merits an independent review — especially in light of the fact that the Obama White House has accused the Russian government of hacking the Democratic National Committee.”
Halderman, however, has written a column where he notes that “attackers broke into the email system of the Democratic National Committee and, separately, into the email account of…Podesta… and leaked private messages. Attackers infiltrated the voter registration systems of two states, Illinois and Arizona, and stole voter data. And there’s evidence that hackers attempted to breach election offices in several other states.”
“In all these cases,” he continues, “Federal agencies publicly asserted that senior officials in the Russian government commissioned these attacks. Russia has sophisticated cyber-offensive capabilities, and has shown a willingness to use them to hack elections. In 2014, during the presidential election in Ukraine, attackers linked to Russia sabotaged the country’s vote-counting infrastructure and, according to published reports, Ukrainian officials succeeded only at the last minute in defusing vote-stealing malware that was primed to cause the wrong winner to be announced.”
Trump has been declared the new president, with 290 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232, and with Michigan’s 16 votes not given to either candidate because the race there is still too close to call. For Clinton to win, the results would have to be flipped in Wisconsin (10 Electoral College votes), Pennsylvania (20 votes) and Michigan (16).
Clinton won the popular election, and her lead now stands at 1.82 million votes and is likely to grow to two million: she has more than 63.9 million votes compared to 62.1 million votes for Trump.
The deadline in Wisconsin to file for a recount is 5 p.m. today; in Pennsylvania, it’s Monday; and in Michigan its next week Wednesday.
“The academics so far have only a circumstantial case that would require not just a recount but a forensic audit of voting machines,” the magazine notes. And as Huffington Post reports, poll analysts like Nate Cohn of the New York Times and Nate Silver of Fivethirtyeight.com are not convinced the election results in those states look suspicious (but both were wrong in their pre-election predictions).
Halderman writes that “the most likely explanation” for the surprising election results is that “the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don’t believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other. The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts.”
While Pedesta was said to favor a recount, Clinton campaign officials were reportedly discouraged by the fact that “the White House, focused on a smooth transfer of power,” didn’t want Clinton to challenge the election result, New York magazine reported.
Still, Clinton supporters have been using the hashtag #AuditTheVote on Twitter to advocate for a recount, HuffPo reports, and the publication created a petition readers could sign. Meanwhile, members of the Green Party were spreading word of alleged discrepancies in voting that they felt justified a recount.
There has also been pressure on members of the Electoral College not to vote for Trump in states he won the popular vote. “At least six electoral voters have said they would not vote for Trump, despite the fact that he won their states,” New York magazine notes.
There have also been claims that Wisconsin’s restrictions on voting suppressed the vote and may have thrown the election to Trump. The national group VoteRiders, which has helped people vote in state with new restrictions, has said it will later release an analysis of the impact of these restrictions in states like Wisconsin.