Election 2016

Recount begins

Wisconsin will start counting three million votes on Thursday

What’s next for Jill Stein’s election recount

Wisconsin’s state board of elections agreed Monday to begin the process of a statewide recount after Green Party candidate Jill Stein filed a petition contesting the results on Friday.

The latest vote count in Wisconsin has Donald Trump ahead by 22,525 votes out of nearly 3 million cast.

Election officials will have to work extended hours and weekends in order to recount every paper and electronic ballot by hand before the deadline of December 13, the Wisconsin Elections Commission said during a special meeting on Monday.

The commission is asking each county clerk to submit their estimated costs of a recount on Monday. They will then begin the recount on Thursday, after receiving full payment from the campaigns (In addition to Stein, Reform Party USA’s Rocky de la Fuente also filed a petition for a recount in Wisconsin).

Stein is also challenging the results in Pennsylvania, where the deadline to file a recount comes Monday evening, along with Michigan, whose deadline is Wednesday.

Stein is alleging foreign hackers tampered with the voting machines in some states that Trump won. The petition filed in Wisconsin, obtained by the Guardian, says “the well-documented and conclusive evidence of foreign interference in the presidential race before the election…call into question the results and indicate the possibility that widespread breach occurred.”

Election officials in Wisconsin said there was little evidence of any widespread election fraud but agreed to recount the votes anyway. “We are confident in our popular vote count,” Mark Thompson, the chair of the Elections Commission, said Monday. He added later that, “I don’t doubt that the president-elect is going to win” the recount.

Stein acknowledged in an interview with NPR Saturday that the recount effort is largely symbolic. “In my view, this is not likely at all to change the outcome, and that’s what the computer and voting security experts say as well,” Stein said. “But it’s the voters who benefit by standing up and saying we deserve a voting system that is secure in which we know our votes are being counted and our votes are being respected.”

Pennsylvania’s recount process is one of the most complicated in the country. Stein cannot simply ask to contest the results — residents must demand it for her. Three voters in each of Pennsylvania’s voting precincts must file affidavits demanding the state to revisit the results and then each vote will be reexamined by hand. Stein has been asking her supporters to volunteer to take part in and observe the recount effort in Pennsylvania. As of Sunday, about 1,500 people signed up, Stein said on Twitter.

Stein began asking for donations last Wednesday to fund the recount effort. As of Monday, managed to raise $6.25 million, falling just short of her $7 million request to fund the recount effort in three states.

Lawyers for Clinton’s campaign said over the weekend that they would participate in the recount effort although they also don’t expect it to change much. Writing on Medium, Clinton’s campaign lawyer Marc Erik Elias said they had no plans on contesting the election themselves, “but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.”

Trump reacted with outrage to the news of a recount and took to Twitter this weekend to slam Stein’s effort.

Stein denied that her team was working with the Clinton lawyers. She said they had merely made “courtesy calls” to the Trump, Clinton and Gary Johnson campaigns.

Trump received 2,934,583 votes in Pennsylvania, compared to Clinton’s 2,863,945.  Stein got 49,170 there.

Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @oliviaLbecker

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