Green Party candidate Jill Stein has officially filed for a recount of presidential election votes in Wisconsin on Friday. It was the last day that filing for such a recount is legally possible, and the filing came after a week of frantic fundraising that has raised over $5 million to pay for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. All in all, Jill Stein has raised more to fund recounts in crucial swing states than she did as a presidential candidate. According to Stein’s Facebook page, the Wisconsin recount will begin next week.
Reform Party candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente has also filed a separate request for a recount in Wisconsin.
Jill Stein began her recount fundraising efforts after news broke that a group of computer scientists were questioning the accuracy of vote tallies in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Those computer scientists ultimately approached the Hillary Clinton campaign to urge them to challenge the election results, advising the campaign that discrepancies between paper ballots and electronic voting machine votes indicated that the voting machines could have been tampered with or even hacked.
While Hillary Clinton and her campaign have remained mum on the possibility of a recount in Wisconsin and other states, Jill Stein took matters into her own hands. And the hands of disgruntled progressives and liberals who have been in mourning since Donald Trump eked out a narrow win in some traditionally Democratic swing states that were widely predicted to go to Hillary Clinton, their electoral votes along with them.
As USA Today reports, Jill Stein’s Wisconsin recount efforts could throw a serious wrench in the upcoming Electoral College efforts to finalize the results of the November 8 general election. Jill Stein has demanded a recount by hand, which can be a time-consuming process. She is even asking for volunteers to head to Wisconsin counties to help oversee/monitor the Wisconsin recount efforts. The federal deadline for electoral votes to be certified is December 13, and the Electoral College meets on December 19. It’s possible that Jill Stein’s recount efforts could make meeting those deadlines impossible, and according to Wisconsin Election Commission administrator Michael Haas, that could be a real problem.
“You may potentially have the state electoral votes at stake if it doesn’t get done by then.”
A recount by hand, at least in Wisconsin, is not something that can simply be entered into automatically. If Jill Stein wants ballots hand recounted, a judge will have to write an order, and that (not to mention counting millions of votes) takes time.
In all, Wisconsin has 10 electoral votes on the line, votes that are earmarked for Donald Trump, that are now in jeopardy based on the Jill Stein recount efforts. If there was some kind of voting machine tampering, abnormality, or other issue that skewed the vote count in Wisconsin, it could be a game changer. Donald Trump won the state by less than 30,000 votes, reports CNN.
While Jill Stein can’t hope to win Wisconsin, or the election, with this recount, she could potentially sway the Electoral College in Hillary Clinton’s direction. Despite losing to Trump in the Electoral College, Hillary Clinton is dominating the American popular vote, and is currently 2 million votes ahead of Trump.
For Jill Stein, though, the Wisconsin recount (and recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan) are bigger than her, or Trump, or Clinton.
“What we’re doing is standing up for an election system that we can trust. We deserve to have votes that we can believe in. This is a commitment that Greens have expressed — that we stand for election integrity, that we support voting systems that respect our vote. We demand voting systems that are accurate, that are publicly controlled, that are not privatized.”
While Jill Stein has only filed for a recount in Wisconsin at this point, she has raised enough money to file in both Michigan and Pennsylvania as well. The deadlines to file in those states are next week, and it is expected that Stein will follow through with her plan to demand recounts in them as well.
Currently, Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by just under 70,000 votes and Michigan by the extremely narrow margin of less than 12,000 votes. Michigan and Pennsylvania have 16 and 20 electoral votes each, respectively.
According to computer scientists disputing the accuracy of the electronic voting machine vote tallies (they say Hillary Clinton under-performed in precincts utilizing electronic voting vs. those using traditional ballots to the tune of getting 7 percent fewer votes on average), the voting machines are extremely vulnerable to hacking, even though no direct evidence of such hacking exists. According to computer scientists, the machines can be hacked even without being hooked up to the internet.
While it’s unclear how Jill Stein’s Wisconsin recount (or potential subsequent Michigan and Pennsylvania recounts) will play out, in most historical recounts, both candidates competing gain votes. This is because absentee ballots are included in the count.
Whatever happens with the Wisconsin recount (and those in other states), the federal “safe harbor” law demands that all presidential recounts be finished by no later than 35 days after the election. In 2016, that falls on December 13.
But it’s the December 19 Electoral College deadline that is causing more concern with regard to the Wisconsin recount, at least according to election law expert Edward Foley.
“That is a hard deadline, and if a state were to miss that deadline, it would be technically in jeopardy of not having its electoral votes counted.”
If the Wisconsin recount demanded by Jill Stein is not complete by December 19, it is possible that the electors in the state could still meet, and then forward their votes to Congress by January 6, when it meets to officially certify the election results. The same goes for Michigan and Pennsylvania, although these are virtually uncharted waters.
Neither Trump, nor Clinton have yet to comment on the Wisconsin recount, although the chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party had denounced it as a “political stunt.” According to the George Martin of the Green Party, Stein has reason to be wary and more than political theater to buttress her demand for a Wisconsin recount.
“We’re not saying this is the smoking gun, but there is enough evidence to take a look at our voting system.”
What do you think? Is a recount amid allegations of potential electronic voting machine manipulation a good idea? Is it muddying the waters? Do you think that Jill Stein is acting in the interest of democracy with her Wisconsin recount demand or undermining the process?
[Featured Image by ae-Gyun Kim/File Photo/AP Photo]