Maybe you hated this past election season, growing tired of the vitriol, accusations, and paltry discussion of the issue. Or maybe you loved every dramatic moment with its stranger-than-fiction plot twists.
Either way, it’s not quite over yet. Wisconsin will recount its votes after Green Party candidate Jill Stein filed a petition and raised millions to fund the effort.
Ever since Donald Trump won narrow victories in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan on Election Day, data scientists, activists and election lawyers have been urging Hillary Clinton to demand a recount in these three very divided states. The Clinton campaign hasn’t taken up this cause, but there’s going to be a recount anyway. Stein has officially petitioned Wisconsin to hold a recount and the state’s Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas has issued a statement saying the state plans to comply.
“We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice,” Haas added in the statement. He added that the recount would likely begin late next week, after the Stein campaign pays the recount fee “which we are still calculating.” The last statewide recount, for a 2011 Supreme Court election cost more than $ 520,000 he explained. With nearly twice as many votes cast in this past presidential election as in that Supreme Court one he anticipates the recount fee this time will be substantially higher.
Blasted past first funding goal.
Stein has the money. Her website initially asked supporters to meet a contribution goal of $ 2.5 million to fund the recount, then upped that sum when the first goal was quickly surpassed. As of this writing she’s asking for a total of $ 7 million and has received just under $ 6 million so far. The additional money should cover filing fees, attorneys, and recount observers, as well as the recount fee itself. It’s by far the most money a third party has ever raised.
Stein filed her petition in Wisconsin about 90 minutes ahead of the state’s deadline for doing so; Wisconsin now has until December 13 to complete the recount. The deadlines for filing petitions in Pennsylvania and Michigan are next week.
Is a recount likely to make a difference? Not very. Electronic voting machines seem to be raising the most suspicions, but in some cases, for example Pennsylvania, there is no paper record against which the machines’ results can be checked so a “recount” would likely consist of simply re-scanning the machines. Michigan, on the other hand, does have a paper record of nearly all its votes. In any case, Stein says she’s not looking to help one party or the other, but merely to ensure that votes are properly counted because Americans came out of this election “not happy campers.”
Winning a Wisconsin recount would not be enough to give Clinton a majority in the Electoral College. For that to happen, she would have to win recounts in all three states–and then prevail against Trump’s inevitable court challenge. Experts agree it’s highly unlikely all of that will happen.
Then again, these are the same experts who confidently predicted that Trump couldn’t win. Stay tuned.