iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The presidential election was called for Donald Trump nearly three weeks ago but that has not stopped a potential recount of three important swing states that experts say will likely not change the outcome of the election.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has raised enough money for a vote recount in Wisconsin and is targeting Pennsylvania and Michigan as well.
Hillary Clinton’s team said it will join the recount effort, which President-elect Trump has called “sad.”
Here’s what you need to know about the Wisconsin recount and other potential recounts.
What is happening in Wisconsin?
Stein and Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, who ran as part of the American Delta Party, filed petitions on Nov. 25 in Wisconsin to hold a recount in that state.
Wisconsin election officials met Monday to confirm details about the cost and timeline for the recount. If approved, the state’s elections commission has said the recount will commence on Dec. 1 and conclude no later than 8 p.m. on Dec. 12.
Why are they asking for a recount?
According to Stein’s statement announcing the recount filing, “the three states were recommended for scrutiny by election integrity experts and advocates because of the vulnerability of their voting systems and various indicators of concern – including unexplained high numbers of undervotes.”
Stein’s campaign manager David Cobb said in the statement that “the recount was not filed in order to change the election outcome, which is unlikely, nor to favor any one candidate. We are pursuing this recount to verify the integrity of the election result.”
Will the outcome of the election change because of the recount?
It’s impossible to say for certain, but no one involved in the recount efforts so far has said that Trump’s presidential rival Hillary Clinton could emerge victorious.
“I fully expect, given the history of how elections are conducted in Wisconsin … that the outcome is not going to be different” than the current unofficial results, Mark Thomsen, chair of Wisconsin’s elections commission, said at a news conference Monday.
Trump’s lead over Clinton in Wisconsin
Trump’s win in Wisconsin was one of a series of surprises on election night; the Badger state had not voted for a Republican president since the 1984 election.
According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, there were a total of 2,975,313 votes cast in the state, and Trump beat Clinton by more than 27,000.
Stein had 31,006 votes in the state; De La Fuente earned 1,514.
When will we have answers?
The Wisconsin Elections Commission held a meeting to determine the timeline of the recount, though a tentative outline was released earlier. The cost estimates of the vote re-tabulation are expected to be determined Monday, and then Stein and De La Fuente will have to submit those payments by Nov. 29 for the recount order to formally be submitted.
The recount would then begin on Dec. 1 and needs to be completed by Dec. 13, which officials have already warned may be a tight turnaround.
“It will be a significant challenge to complete a statewide recount of nearly 3 million votes in less than two weeks,” the elections commission memo read.
The chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission denied Stein’s request for hand-counted ballots; a recount will instead be done by machine.
Who is paying for this?
More than $6 million has been raised for the legal and recount costs, according to Stein’s official fundraising recount site. The money will go toward funding recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
According to a member of Stein’s press team, that money has come from more than 137,000 donors and the average donation has been $45.
If there are any excess funds, Stein’s press team said the campaign will consult with the Federal Election Commission guidelines on how best to proceed.
The Wisconsin Election Commission notified Stein and De La Fuente Monday that either one or both of them will have to pay just under $3.5 million to the commission by Tuesday afternoon for the recount to take place. According to the fundraising page set up by Stein, they had expected the filing fee in Wisconsin to be $1.1 million, along with $600,000 in Michigan and $500,000 in Pennsylvania. Attorney fees are expected to cost millions of dollars more. The money raised will also pay for the recruitment of recount observers.
Are other states taking similar action?
Clinton campaign General Counsel Marc Elias wrote a post on Medium alluding to calls for similar recounts elsewhere.
“Over the last few days, officials in the Clinton campaign have received hundreds of messages, emails, and calls urging us to do something, anything, to investigate claims that the election results were hacked and altered in a way to disadvantage Secretary Clinton. The concerns have arisen, in particular, with respect to Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — three states that together proved decisive in this presidential election and where the combined margin of victory for Donald Trump was merely 107,000 votes,” he wrote.
Pennsylvania may be following Wisconsin in doing a recount as well. However, in Pennsylvania, recount petitions need to be filed by groups of residents in individual precincts unlike Wisconsin, where candidates can file once with the state’s elections commission.
Supporters of Stein have filed at least one petition for a recount in at least one Pennsylvania precinct, but the state’s Board of Elections has not publicly said if multiple petitions were filed. The deadline to file in Pennsylvania was Monday; Michigan’s deadline is on Wednesday.
Two of the three states in question — Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — have already begun required audits of their elections, which is done by checking the results of a random sample of voting machines to make sure the technology actually works.
Michigan has 16 Electoral College votes, Wisconsin has 10 and Pennsylvania has 20.
The final Electoral College count is Trump with 306 votes, Clinton with 232.
How Trump has responded
Trump tweeted that the recount was a “scam” on behalf of the Green Party and he used a portion of Clinton’s concession speech in which she said the election results must be accepted in an effort to diminish the efforts.
According to Elias, Clinton campaign’s legal team will follow Stein’s lead in participating in the recount process in Wisconsin and will also join her if she moves forward in Pennsylvania and Michigan, as promised.
Elias said that the Clinton team takes concerns over potential hacking or altering of results “extremely seriously” but also made it clear that they were not the ones who started this process.
“We are getting attacked for participating in a recount that we didn’t ask for by the man who won election but thinks there was massive fraud,” Elias tweeted on Sunday.
On Sunday, Trump made what others say is a baseless claim that “millions of people” voted illegally, and “I won the popular vote if you deduct” those allegedly fraudulent votes.
Kay Stimson, spokeswoman for the National Association of Secretaries of State, told ABC News that the organization has “no information that can help to explain what sources or information are behind the basis of the tweets,” referring to Trump’s comments about the “millions” of illegal votes and alleged fraud in Virginia, California, and New Hampshire.
On the state level, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla released a statement slamming Trump.
“It appears that Mr. Trump is troubled by the fact that a growing majority of Americans did not vote for him. His unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd. His reckless tweets are inappropriate and unbecoming of a President-elect,” Padilla said in the statement.
Federal law mandates that any recounts need to be completed 35 days after the election, or by Dec. 13.
The electors who make up the votes in the Electoral College are slated to meet in their respective states on Dec. 19 and then send their decisions to Washington. The National Archives states that the electoral votes need to be received by the president of the Senate, which is Vice President Joe Biden, and the archivist by Dec. 28.
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