Just when you thought the bitter presidential election was finally behind us, comes this: The Green Party candidate is raising money to request recounts in three battleground states that gave Donald Trump the victory over Hillary Clinton.
Jill Stein has raised more than $4 million in just over 24 hours -- all through donations to her website.
“Our goal is to create a voting system that we can believe in,” Stein says.
Stein is questioning results in Pennsylvania, where Trump won by roughly 68,000 votes; Wisconsin, where his margin of victory was a little over 27,000 votes; and Michigan which is still too close to call.
“Let me be very clear: We do not have evidence of fraud,” Stein says. “We do not have smoking guns. What we do have is an election that was surrounded by hacking.”
She points to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and the hacks into the voter registration lists in Arizona and Illinois - hacks which some U.S. investigators have linked to Russia. She says it all raises questions of fraud with electronic voting machines and demonstrate the need for a count of the actual paper ballots.
Despite the amount of money raised, it’s unclear what Stein’s effort can actually achieve.
The deadlines to petition for recounts are fast approaching; Friday in Wisconsin, and the date has already passed in Pennsylvania, where the funds would have to go toward an effort to contest the election in court (and the deadline for that is Monday, Nov. 28, according to The New York Times).
More importantly, it’s unclear whether Stein’s campaign for total vote recounts meets the minimum standards set by the respective states to petition for election recounts.
The Washington Post notes that it has never been proven that voting machines can be hacked from afar, and a recount of paper ballots wouldn’t show any evidence of such hacking anyway.
None of this has stopped the donations coming in. Voting rights attorney John Bonifaz, who is helping drive the recount campaign, says the American people “deserve public confidence in the integrity of our process.”
“If we don’t ever look at the ballots, we don’t ever verify the vote, why should we expect that public trust?” Bonifaz says.
As for the people saying Mr. Trump won fairly and people should accept the result of the election, Bonifaz insists he is “engaged in this process as a ‘small d democrat.’”
“I believe in the democratic process and I believe that we need to verify the vote regardless of who the winner was declared on election night. It may turn out that it doesn’t change the result of the election, but it’s a healthy process to engage in democracy,” Bonifaz says.
There has been no comment from the Clinton camp on the calls for recounts.
Bonifaz says he approached Clinton first about recounts, but with no decision made, he approached Stein instead. The only comment from President-elect Donald Trump’s team has been a tweet from spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway, saying, “look who can’t accept the election results,” referring to Clinton supporters.