As donations poured into her website, it became clear by late Wednesday evening that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein would easily meet the fundraising goal of $2.5 million set by her campaign to force a recount of election results in the key battleground state of Wisconsin. Michigan and Pennsylvania are to be targeted for additional fundraising goals. As the campaign explains on its fundraising site, the goals reflect the amounts that are needed for the recount filing fees in each state and additional legal fees. Dr. Jill Stein and her running mate, activist Ajamu Baraka, had set a deadline of Friday, November 25 at 4 p.m. to reach the fundraising goal, as the $1.1 million required for filing in Wisconsin will be due on that date. In Pennsylvania, the Stein/Baraka campaign needs $500,000 by November 28. An additional $600,000 is needed to file in Michigan by that state’s November 30 deadline. An additional amount of $2-3 million will be needed for legal fees. As of this writing, the website reflects the campaign has reached its initial $2.5 million fundraising goal for Wisconsin.
Social media started buzzing immediately after Jill Stein made her intentions known on her Facebook page around 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. With many Americans still angry and unwilling to accept the idea that Donald Trump won the election, any glimmer of hope may be seen as better than no hope at all. Stein’s move for a recount was prompted by a report Tuesday in New York Magazine that a team of computer scientists believes they have found possible evidence of vote total manipulation or hacking in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
The social media buzz quickly translated to dollars raised, with Jill Stein supporters and Hillary Clinton supporters alike sharing news about the massive success of the fundraising effort on social media.
At this rate Jill Stein is raising about $5,200 per minute, over $300,000 per hour for the recount fund. Here we go: https://t.co/3MkswN5vwV— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) November 24, 2016
As the Stein campaign indicates on its fundraising site, similar efforts of past Green Party campaigns have contributed to success in the continued push for greater election integrity.
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. That provoked California to engage in a “top to bottom” review of their voting system, which culminated in the abolition of DRE machines.
In addition to the fundraising drive, the Stein campaign is also asking for county-by-county volunteers in the three states to help with the recounts. The Stein campaign says any fundraising dollars raised that are not spent on the recount effort will be used to fund additional elections integrity efforts.
Jill Stein posted a video to her Facebook page Wednesday evening of a chat between her and elections integrity attorney, Bob Fitrakis, of the site FreePress.org, explaining in detail why the Stein/Baraka campaign will be demanding these recounts.
Whether these recounts will alter results of the election to any significant degree remains to be seen. I surmise that Jill Stein would be very pleased if the recounts yielded enough votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania for her Green Party to receive matching campaign funds and automatic ballot access in 50 states for the 2020 election. I am certain that Hillary Clinton and her supporters would enjoy an even greater happiness if these efforts handed her the election. Both outcomes can be reasonably viewed as wishful thinking at best and unlikely to prevent a Donald Trump Presidency. But one thing is certain: the success of Jill Stein’s fundraising efforts, together with a general feeling of mistrust among Americans for the political process ever since those “hanging chads” gave Bush the win over Gore in Florida in 2000, signify a serious need to rethink and reform our elections. The future of the Republic just may depend on it.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]