Clinton Camp Backs Jill Stein’s Recount Efforts As The Democrat’s Popular-Vote Lead Surpasses 2 Million

The Hillary Clinton campaign announced Saturday that it would support efforts led by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein for a statewide election recount in Wisconsin, NBC News reports.

Calls for a recount in key battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin intensified after a November 22 article in New York magazine featured several voting-rights experts and other academics who pointed to widespread irregularities in election results.

“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,” New York magazine gave as an example. “Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000.”

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias previously held a conference call with the academics but had not publicly endorsed the recount efforts until Saturday.

“Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” Elias explained via a Medium post quoted by NBC.

Speculation about possible vote rigging, coupled with the fact that Clinton won the popular vote, has led to widespread frustration and even anger among Democratic voters.

Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote stands at over 2 million as of Wednesday, according to a report from NPR.

“With vote[s] continuing to be counted in California, Clinton has now expanded her popular-vote lead to more than 2 million (64.4 million to 62.3 million), the widest gap in raw vote in the history of the handful of times when the popular vote went the opposite direction as the Electoral College,” Domenico Montanaro writes. “The only time it happened outside the 1800s was in 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote by about 500,000 votes over George W. Bush, but lost a contested race that came down to 537 votes in Florida.”

The frustration Democrats feel from winning the popular vote but losing the election for the second time in as many decades has sent partisan activists scrambling for ways to block Republican President-elect Donald Trump from taking the White House.

Blocking Trump would require either a vote recount that could flip multiple states from the Trump column to the Clinton column, or “faithless electors” in the Electoral College overruling the state-by-state votes by casting votes that should go to Trump for Clinton instead. The Electoral College votes on December 19, and their vote is what actually determines who will be president.

Despite the efforts of Stein and others, it is extremely unlikely that either of those two options will come to pass.

Jill Stein kickstarted the efforts for a vote recount in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Clinton underperformed in all three states while Trump outperformed expectations, based on polling data going into Election Day.

Stein, who was an outspoken critic of Clinton throughout the election cycle, announced a fundraising drive for the election recounts in the three battleground states on Wednesday. She initially asked for $2.5 million, but after passing that goal within hours, she suggested that the costs of the recounts could actually be higher.

By Thursday the recount fundraising drive had already taken in nearly $4 million, according to the Washington Post.

NBC claims the recount in Wisconsin could begin as soon as next week.

The deadline for filing for a recount in Michigan and Pennsylvania is rapidly approaching.

Elias says that if recounts are approved in those states, the Clinton campaign will also support those efforts.

Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would all have to flip from Trump to Clinton in order for Hillary Clinton to win.

The Electoral College has never effectively overturned state votes.

[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]