Jill Stein at a campaign event earlier this year. (Gage Skidmore / CC 2.0)
Former Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein is following through on her goal of producing a recount of presidential election votes in three swing states, even if it means resorting to legal actions. Stein has raised almost $7 million dollars to fund recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Late Monday, Stein sued the Wisconsin Elections Commission because, although it agreed to a recount, it did not want to tally the state’s millions of votes by hand. This lawsuit “could delay the process,” said the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, because the recount “must begin this week.”
“Unless Stein wins her lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court,” the Sentinel continued, “officials in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties would decide on their own whether to do their recounts of the 2.98 million statewide votes by machine or by hand, with dozens of counties expected to hand count the paper ballots.”
Also Monday, Stein filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania to “trigger a recount,” according to The Washington Post. It continues:
Stein, who finished well behind Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, announced that she filed a legal petition in Pennsylvania on behalf of 100 voters “to protect their right to substantively contest the election in Pennsylvania beyond the recounts being filed by voters at the precinct level.”
“Americans deserve a voting system we can trust,” Stein said in a statement. “After a presidential election tarnished by the use of outdated and unreliable machines and accusations of irregularities and hacks, people of all political persuasions are asking if our election results are reliable. We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system.”
But Stein acknowledged in a Sunday video that it would be difficult to force a recount in Pennsylvania and would require her to “jump through some hoops.”
Many are accusing Stein of wasting time and money on the difficult recount effort because, critics argue, there is no evidence of voter fraud.
Although Stein initially voiced concerns about “cyber hacking” during the election, she went on CNN Monday to clarify her position. While she stated that she had no concrete evidence of fraud, she continued: “What we have are predictors that if tampering took place, it would be most likely to be discovered in the three states where we are looking.”
Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign has quietly expressed its support for the recount effort. “Clinton’s campaign also indicated over the weekend that it would join in the recount process in Wisconsin,” Common Dreams reports, “as well as any potential recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, key battleground states where Clinton lost.”
In a post published on Medium, the Clinton team’s general counsel Marc Elias writes:
We certainly understand the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton, and it is a fundamental principle of our democracy to ensure that every vote is properly counted.
The campaign is grateful to all those who have expended time and effort to investigate various claims of abnormalities and irregularities. While that effort has not, in our view, resulted in evidence of manipulation of results, now that a recount is underway, we believe we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported.
President-elect Donald Trump has his own take on the recount effort. He, too, is worried about widespread voter fraud—but he believes that the popular vote was manipulated in Clinton’s favor.
In a Tweet sent over the weekend, Trump alleges that “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
However, NPR writes that Trump’s team “tried to back up the claim” in a Monday phone call with NPR’s Tamara Keith. “However, nothing they cited really made that case.”
—Posted by Emma Niles