Trump calls Stein’s election recount push a ‘scam’
Wisconsin: recount is on; Clinton to join effort
President-elect Donald Trump called the effort by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein to fund a recount of the presidential election in three states “ridiculous” and a “scam.”
Individuals have sent Stein millions of dollars to recount the votes in Michigan and Wisconsin, and nearly enough to fund the effort in Pennsylvania. These three states were decisive in the election, but their combined margin of victory for Donald Trump was a slim 107,000 votes. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by two million nationwide but took fewer Electoral College votes.
Uncertainty over the election tallies were raised by computer experts, who pointed out count anomalies and vulnerabilities in the specific voting equipment used by these states.
This follows the U.S. government’s announcement that Russia was behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the email accounts of Clinton’s campaign officials. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the Russian government was behind much of the “fake news” stories that outperformed many “real news” stories online in the final weeks of the election.
“The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton herself said on election night in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, ‘We must accept this result and then look to the future,’” Trump said in a statement on Saturday.
“This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount,” Trump claimed.
He added, “This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.”
Wisconsin: It’s a go
Stein said on her website on Saturday that the Green Party already filed for a recount by Friday’s deadline in Wisconsin, and planned to file in Pennsylvania by its Monday deadline. The party’s focus is now raising enough to fund Michigan’s recount.
“Raising money to pay for the first two recounts so quickly is a miraculous feat and a tribute to the power of grassroots organizing,” she said in a statement.
The Wisconsin Election Commission confirmed on Friday that it had received petitions from Stein as well as Reform Party USA’s Rocky de la Fuente. Only candidates are allowed to petition for recounts.
“The Commission is preparing to move forward with a statewide recount of votes for president of the United States, as requested by these candidates,” Commission Administrator Michael Haas said in a statement on Friday.
“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.
The state is working under a federal deadline of December 13 to complete the recount. Haas said that the recount would likely begin late in the week.
“The recount process is very detail-oriented, and this deadline will certainly challenge some counties to finish on time,” Haas said. The Commission reported that 2,975,313 votes were tallied in the state. Of these 1,404,000 were credited to Trump; 1,381,823 to Clinton.
In August, foreign hackers breached voter registration databases in at least two states and stole hundreds of thousands of voter records, according to published reports.
Stein’s petition pointed out irregularities in the Wisconsin election results. “Specifically, there was a significant increase in the number of absentee voters compared to the last general election. This significant increase could be attributed to a breach of the state’s electronic voter database,” the petition reads.
Clinton: I’m in
While the Clinton campaign has not asked for an audit, it recently has tasked lawyers and data scientists and analysts to comb over the results to spot anomalies, the campaign said in a statement published by Medium.com.
“Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, 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,” the campaign told Medium.
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