MILWAUKEE — Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein finished a distant fourth in the popular vote in the Nov. 8 election, but she is moving, after the fact, to play a role in the outcome.
Stein's campaign says it has raised enough money to pay for a recount of the presidential vote in Wisconsin, one of a number of states that surprisingly helped Republican Donald Trump win the election.
According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, a lawyer for Stein's campaign has already told the commission it will formally request a recount by Friday's deadline.
Moreover, the Stein campaign is continuing to raise money to pay for recounts in two other crucial states: Pennsylvania, where the deadline is Monday, and Michigan, where the deadline is Wednesday. Trump won all three states.
Stein can request the recounts by virtue of having been a candidate in the election, where she finished behind Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Libertarian Gary Johnson in the popular vote.
However, she must bear the costs which, in Wisconsin alone, could approach $1 million.
As of early Thursday evening, Stein's campaign said it had raised more than $4.2 million toward a goal of $4.5 million to fund the three recounts.
The campaign, which began the fundraising on Wednesday, insists the recounts are not intended to help Clinton, saying:
"Election integrity experts have independently identified Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as states where 'statistical anomalies' raised concerns. ... These recounts are part of an election integrity movement to attempt to shine a light on just how untrustworthy the U.S. election system is."
Clinton won the popular vote but Trump won comfortably, though not in a landslide, in the Electoral College.
It's not clear that recounts would change any results and, generally speaking, recounts are a long shot.
New York magazine reported Tuesday that a group of election lawyers and computer scientists was urging top Clinton campaign officials to seek a recount amid concerns of computer hacking.
But one of those involved in the conversations, J. Alex Halderman, wrote Wednesday on Medium.com that he believes there should be a review of paper ballots and voting equipment but did not think there had been a cyberattack.
Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the Wisconsin tallies: “Most all of the stuff we’re seeing on Twitter and other sites questioning the results is based on unofficial results which contain some errors that have been corrected by the county boards of canvass."
Trump won Wisconsin by a margin of about 27,000 votes.
And in Michigan, the state’s election director said there is no evidence that Michigan’s presidential election results were manipulated or hacked. On Wednesday, the Michigan secretary of State's office said Trump won the state by 10,704 votes over Clinton, a total that is down from 13,107 before each county had certified its results.
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