Since Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton to become the president of the United States, Democrats have taken to the streets in protest and sought ways to prevent him from taking office. In a new development, the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein has called for a recount in several states in which Trump narrowly won. The effort was widely praised by Democrats and Clinton allies, many of whom helped her to raise the necessary money to pay for a recount in just a matter of days.
However, speculation has arisen about Stein’s intentions, especially since Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has stated it will join Stein’s recount effort. Across social media and beyond, people are wondering why, if Stein believes some of her votes were stolen by Clinton, why has she welcomed the Democratic nominee into the recount effort?
Critics on the right have asked why Stein hasn’t requested recounts in states where Clinton narrowly won. Critics on the left are calling Stein’s integrity into question for allowing Clinton to participate in the recount.
PBS NewsHour reports that Stein is focusing on three states where “there is a significant need to verify machine counted vote totals.”
Tamara Keith, a political reporter with NPR told PBS’s Alison Stewart that Stein is concerned about election integrity and whether peoples’ votes are being properly counted, even though the Clinton campaign had already done a forensic analysis and concluded no recount was necessary.
“Jill Stein, though, felt that a recount was in order to verify the integrity of the voting process and the voting systems.”
Journalist Michael Tracey tweeted that Stein’s efforts are “a pipe dream” in Michigan because she would need to prove fraud or “systematic error” in every county to initiate a recount.
Jill Stein would have to present evidence of fraud or systematic error in every MI county to initiate a statewide recount. It's a pipe dream pic.twitter.com/q19r9THelr
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) November 26, 2016
Wisconsin, another state Stein wants to recount, has more permissible recount requirements, but just raising the money and submitting a petition does not guarantee the state will go forward with a recount. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, is even more difficult, and Stein would have to prove election fraud to a state appeals judge by November 28 in order to trigger a recount.
If the recounts somehow do proceed, what will be the result? With Clinton’s involvement, there’s widespread skepticism on both sides of the center that she will attempt to manipulate the outcome yet again.
On her campaign page, Stein justified her request for a recount by citing the 2004 election, after which the Green Party candidate also requested a recount in the state of Ohio.
“In 2004, the Cobb/LaMarche campaign demanded a recount in Ohio. Because of their efforts, an election administrator went to jail. We also exposed the profound problems with DRE machines, which helped launch an election integrity movement.”
Is Clinton’s participation a slick move to try and discredit her just in case a recount reveals her campaign stole votes from Stein? Already the Green Party candidate is getting criticized far and wide by folks who are questioning her motives. And Clinton Super PAC Correct the Record spent much of the primary campaign in a coordinated effort to discredit Senator Bernie Sanders.
Hacktivist group Anonymous believes that Stein is working with Clinton to bring down Trump and install Hillary as president. The group shared a post originally written for an independent news site, alleging Stein has received millions of dollars from George Soros, who also happens to be involved in MoveOn.org. The accusations are not based on any factual information other than the speed with which Stein was able to raise the funds for her recount efforts.
Even Donald Trump has jumped into the fray, with a claim that he would have won the popular vote had not millions of illegal votes been cast. His tweet has generated ridicule and criticism from around the internet.
— Fails.us (@Fails_us) November 28, 2016
Even so, Stein’s calls for a recount may ultimately prove fruitless. Michigan’s Secretary of State announced that official 2016 election results will be certified on Monday, November 28.
“These are the numbers that will be presented to the state board for the Nov. 8 presidential election. Trump leads Clinton by 10,704 votes.”
Lori Grace of The Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity, though, released an announcement the day before Thanksgiving discussing Stein’s recount campaign in which she expressed hope that they can prove fraud occurred which would then spur Clinton to “take back her concession.” Apparently, Clinton taking back her concession would be a necessary step in moving forward with the recount.
In response to criticism from the Trump camp about Stein’s recount, The Hill reports that Stein invited all campaigns to participate.
“I invited everyone. I invite Donald Trump’s campaign, Hillary’s campaign. We’ve had calls out to Gary Johnson’s campaign.”
Whether Stein will make the deadlines for the states to prove fraud remains to be seen. And depending on where you land on the political spectrum, Stein’s efforts are be seen as either colluding with Clinton to steal the election from Trump, or a naïve candidate being used for nefarious, unknown purposes. Either way, the results of the election are unlikely to change regardless.
[Featured Image by Ross Cameron/AP Images]