Shortly before the 5pm CT Friday deadline, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein successfully filed her recount petition in Wisconsin. Stein raised the necessary funds to bring forth the petition through a crowdfunding campaign that has continued to grow since its Wednesday launched.
She’s looking to bring recount petitions to two other battleground states: Pennsylvania and Michigan. The initial asking amount of $2.5 million went toward the Wisconsin recount, which had the earliest filing date.
The Commission has received the Stein and Del La Fuente recount petitions. Details and news release posted soon at https://t.co/N3TrlOIqE1.— Wisconsin Elections (@WI_Elections) November 25, 2016
The campaign’s goal has continued to grow as benchmarks continue to be surpassed. By Thanksgiving, well over $5 million total had been raised, netting Stein the necessary funds to successfully file a petition in Pennsylvania before the state’s Monday deadline.
Many were critical of Stein’s crowdfunding campaign due to the fact that the asking amount continued to change, as did the site’s overall language, which calls for wider voter reform in addition to potential recounts. Stein successfully filing her recount petition in Wisconsin puts those concerns to rest, provided she successfully files in Pennsylvania as well.
As of this writing the only thing standing in the way of Stein filing a recount petition in Michigan is $1.8 million. To donate to the recount petition campaign, head to jillstein.nationbuilder.com/recount. Stein has until Wednesday, Nov. 30th to reach her goal and subsequently file in the Great Lake State.
Update 4:25pm CT, Nov. 25: The Wisconsin Elections Commission has issued a press release regarding the recount. It reads in part:
MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Elections Commission today received two recount petitions from the Jill Stein for President Campaign and from Rocky Roque De La Fuente, Administrator Michael Haas announced.
“The Commission is preparing to move forward with a statewide recount of votes for President of the United States, as requested by these candidates,” Haas said.
“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 said. “We plan to hold a teleconference meeting for county clerks next week and anticipate the recount will begin late in the week after the Stein campaign has paid the recount fee, which we are still calculating.”
The last statewide recount was of the Supreme Court election in 2011. At that time, the Associated Press surveyed county clerks and reported that costs to the counties exceeded $520,000, though several counties did not respond to the AP’s survey. That election had 1.5 million votes, and Haas said the Commission expects the costs to be higher for an election with 2.975 million votes. “The Commission is in the process of obtaining cost estimates from county clerks so that we can calculate the fee which the campaigns will need to pay before the recount can start,” Haas said. The Commission will need to determine how the recount costs will be assessed to the campaigns.
The state is working under a federal deadline of December 13 to complete the recount. As a result, county boards of canvassers may need to work evenings and weekends to meet the deadlines. “The recount process is very detail-oriented, and this deadline will certainly challenge some counties to finish on time,” Haas said.
A recount is different than an audit and is more rigorous, Haas explained. More than 100 reporting units across the state were randomly selected for a separate audit of their voting equipment as required by state law, and that process has already begun. Electronic voting equipment audits determine whether all properly-marked ballots are accurately tabulated by the equipment. In a recount, all ballots (including those that were originally hand counted) are examined to determine voter intent before being retabulated. In addition, the county boards of canvassers will examine other documents, including poll lists, written absentee applications, rejected absentee ballots, and provisional ballots before counting the votes.
The press release includes current voter totals. It’s worth noting that a recount petition was also filed by American Delta Party presidential nominee Rocky Roque De La Fuente, who reportedly received 1,514 votes in Wisconsin compared to Stein’s 31,006.