Photo via Daniel_Nesbitt/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein wants to force recounts in three key swing states, and she needs your help to do it.
Stein on Wednesday launched a crowdfunding effort that aims to raise at least $2.5 million by 4pm ET on Friday to pay for vote audits in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
“After a divisive and painful presidential race,” Stein said in a statement, “reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable.”
President-elect Donald Trump won Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and is currently expected to win in Michigan, where the race remains too close to call. All three states have been Democratic strongholds, and the party's presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, was widely expected to win those states, according to polls conducted ahead of Election Day.
Clinton currently trails Trump 232 electoral to 290. Were Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to all swing her way, she would surpass the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.
Stein's recount effort follows a New York report published Tuesday evening that revealed a group of legal and computer science experts were urging the Clinton campaign and others to audit the votes in those three states, where Clinton trails Trump by 70,000 votes or less, due to irregularities in vote tallies in counties with electronic voting machines. The experts believe it is possible, if unlikely, that these voting machines were hacked. However, the Department of Homeland Security says it found no evidence of vote hacking.
J. Alex Halderman, a renowned computer science professor at the University of Michigan and one of the experts pushing for state vote audits, explained in a post on Medium following the New York report that auditing the vote should be a necessary step to ensure accurate and fair elections:
“I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don’t believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other. The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts.”
With the Clinton campaign apparently not prepared to call for a recount, Stein's effort stands as the most likely path to vote audits in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
The deadline to file for a recount in Wisconsin is Friday. Pennsylvania's deadline is Monday, Nov. 28; Michigan's is Wednesday, Nov. 30.
The initial goal amount of $2.5 million will likely only cover an audit in Wisconsin, with additional funds needed for the other two states.
“We hope to do recounts in all three states. If we only raise sufficient money for two, we will demand recounts in two states,” the crowdfunding page reads. “If we only raise enough money for one, we will demand a recount in one state. If we do not raise enough for any recount (which is highly unlikely) we pledge to use the money for election integrity efforts and to promote systemic voting system reform.”
Update 6:23am CT, Nov. 24: Stein reached her fundraising goal overnight, reports CNN. This pays for a Wisconsin recount; the Stein campaign's new goal post is $4.5 million, for Michigan and Pennsylvania.