ed note–no, I don’t’ think Trump’s people read the commentary we posted here yesterday on what Stein’s real motivation was for this, but it’s nice to know we are on the same page.
President-elect Donald Trump denounced the effort to recount Wisconsin’s votes as a “scam” engineered by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, calling on voters to “accept this result and then look to the future.”
On Saturday, the campaign of Democratic contender Hillary Clintonsaid it would back Stein’s efforts to take a fresh look at voting results in Wisconsin, a crucial swing state that narrowly backed Trump over Clinton. Stein has been raising millions for more than a week—more than she did for her entire campaign, in fact.
In a statement, however, Trump blasted the effort as a way for Stein to “fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount. All three states were won by large numbers of voters, especially Pennsylvania, which was won by more than 70,000 votes,” Trump said.
“This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing,” the president-elect added.
The Clinton team had been quiet about Stein’s crusade, but campaign lawyer Marc Elias said that because a recount was set into motion Friday — and could begin as soon as next week — they want to see a “fair” process for all involved.
“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,” Elias wrote in a Medium post explaining the decision, “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.”
Unlike the hotly contested 2000 presidential race, where the result of the George W. Bush vs. Al Gore contest hinged solely on Florida’s electoral college votes, Trump won most of the swing states in play, albeit by narrow margins. Clinton won the overall national popular vote by around 2 million ballots, emboldening her supporters who refuse to accept Trump’s legitimacy.
“It is important to point out that with the help of millions of voters across the country, we won 306 electoral votes on Election Day— the most of any Republican since 1988— and we carried nine of 13 battleground states, 30 of 50 states, and more than 2,600 counties nationwide – the most since President Ronald Reagan in 1984,” said Trump in his statement.
Earlier this week, speculation that electronic voting may have been tampered with in key states stoked new calls from Clinton backers for her to contest the election results. A few have even called for electoral college voters to ‘vote their conscience’ by tipping their votes to Clinton.
Green Party nominee Jill Stein appeared to have met her initial fundraising goal early Thursday for recounts of the vote in three key swing states that went to Donald Trump — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
However, she quickly raised the sum being sought by another $2 million. “Raising money to pay for the first round so quickly is a miraculous feat and a tribute to the power of grassroots organizing,” a message on her website read.
The Green Party didn’t single out any specific evidence of fraud, nor does it need proof of irregularities to call for a recount. Stein’s party won only 1 percent of the vote.
“After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable,” Stein said Wednesday. “These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust.”
A small but vocal group of scientists and activists has emerged in recent days advocating for a recount on the basis of Trump’s unexpected win and concerns about Russian involvement in the election. They note that only a small minority of public polls predicted Trump’s success, and although public polls have been wrong before, the magnitude of their error this cycle was unprecedented.
They also point to evidence that Russian hackers infiltrated the Democratic National Committee and potentially a top adviser to Hillary Clinton’s campaign as evidence of both ability and willingness. Hackers compromised voter records in Illinois and attempted to breach voting systems in a handful of other states before the election.
Clinton campaign officials haven’t commented on Stein’s efforts, which hinge on the Green Party’s ability to pay for a recount.
Stein told supporters Wednesday that she needed to raise “over $2 million by this Friday, 4 p.m. central,” to put her plan to action. The deadline to file for a recount in Wisconsin is Friday, while the deadlines for Pennsylvania and Michigan are next week. Recounts are costly to conduct, and each state requires various fees depending on the size of the vote lead and how expansive the recount is.
She surpassed her website’s original $2.5 million goal by 3 a.m. ET Thursday. Within around 20 minutes, the sum had been increased to $4.5 million. And by 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday, that goal was only $200,000 away.
“Now that we have nearly completed funding Wisconsin’s recount (which is due on Friday), we can begin to tackle the funding for Michigan’s recount (due Monday) and Pennsylvania’s recount (due Wednesday),” a message on her site read. “In true grassroots fashion, we’re turning to you, the people, and not big-money corporate donors to make this happen.”
A recount wouldn’t change the outcome for Stein. She came in fourth, behind Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, Clinton and Trump, taking a little less than 1.4 million votes overall.
But there’s a very small chance that a recount in those states could boost Clinton. Trump won Michigan by about 9,500 votes, Wisconsin by 22,500 votes and Pennsylvania by 69,700.
Given the relatively wide margin for Trump and Clinton’s narrow advantage in more traditionally blue states like Minnesota, it’s unlikely that compromised voting machines were to blame.
Trump aide Kellyanne Conway took a jab at the effort Thursday, tweeting, “Look who ‘can’t accept the election results.'”
Her supporters have seized on reports by experts suggesting that Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin should manually review paper ballots.