by Chelsea Cabral, Staff Writer
With nearly a month having passed following Donald Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, efforts have been taken in three key battleground states to take a second look at election results.
The Green Party’s presidential candidate, Jill Stein, spearheaded recount efforts in late November, claiming that there was the possibility of voter irregularities in three states—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Trump narrowly beat Clinton in all three of those states, giving him the capability to clinch the victory.
Stein’s push for the recount comes after Democrat Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory, which has now expanded beyond two million ballots. Trump’s leads in those three states are extensively narrow—he leads by 22,177 votes in Wisconsin, 70,638 votes in Pennsylvania, and 10,704 votes in Michigan.
Marc Elias, a campaign lawyer for Hillary Clinton noted that those gaps would exceed “the largest margin ever overcome in a recount” and possess a margin too large for Clinton to overcome.
Trump surpassed the 270 electoral vote mark needed to win with 306 electoral votes over Clinton’s 232 electoral votes. The recount would have to flip the result to Clinton in all three states to change the electoral vote overall, something which many political experts have deemed unlikely.
President-elect Trump and his allies have already begun to push against the recount efforts, claiming that it is an attempt to undermine his presidency before it starts. Trump took to Twitter in a series of tweets to vocalize his resentment, saying that Democrats were joining what he called a “scam” by the Green Party to “fill up their coffers by asking for impossible recounts.” He also tweeted a baseless claim that he would have won the popular vote had it had not been for millions of illegal voters.
Stein, who finished a distant fourth in the popular vote on November 8, had raised about $6.3 million of a $7 million to cover the cost of all three recount efforts. With the Clinton Campaign jumping behind the recount effort, the states must operate quickly as they need to confirm election results days before the Electoral College meets on December 19 to finalize votes.
The vote recount process officially commenced in Wisconsin last Thursday to review nearly three million ballots across all of the state’s 72 counties.
“I don’t think the recount will have a significant impact on the election because I am confident in the election institutions,” said Benjamin Solomon, a junior political science major. “That being said, I see no issue in doing a recount in order to bring about a higher level of acceptance of the result.”
Trump’s campaign has already issued attorneys to block recount efforts in both Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Michigan’s Attorney General, Bill Schuette, filed the lawsuit in his state appeals court to reject Stein’s request, claiming that recounting all of the state’s votes “threatens to silence all Michigan’s votes for president due to an impending federal deadline to finalize votes.” Michigan Republicans have also criticized the recount action, given that there is no evidence of voter fraud in their state.
As Stein has previously expressed the push for a more accountable and transparent vote, in a press statement she stated that “in an election already tainted by suspicion, previously expressed by Donald Trump himself, verifying the vote is a common-sense procedure that would put all concerns around voter disenfranchisement to rest.”
While Stein’s statements emphasize that the recounts are about assurance in a fair elections system that people can trust, the recount effort to overturn the result in Clinton’s favor points to being unlikely and implausible. More information will become available in the coming days as recount efforts are to come to a finish on December 12.
“If the current result is correct, then a recount should only confirm Trump’s victory,” said Solomon. “The only reason to really be afraid of a recount is if you are relying on a miscount for a win.”