With just hours to go before the deadline, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein requested a recount in Pennsylvania on Monday and promised that she would also request a recount in Michigan by Wednesday. Those moves follow a similar request Stein made in Wisconsin last week, which was met with dismissal and unfounded allegations from Donald Trump and his supporters.
For Republicans, the recount moving forward surely tempered the news on Monday that Donald Trump had been officially declared the winner in Michigan. Instead of celebrating, Trump spent the day talking about the recount, saying that it was “nonsense.” And his team stood by the baseless allegations Trump made over the weekend that Hillary Clinton only won the popular vote — which she did in fact win by more than 2 million votes — because of widespread voter fraud in California, New Hampshire, and Virginia. That idea was dismissed by all three states, voting experts, and the White House.
A drive by Stein has so far raised $6.3 million of the $7 million needed for the multi-state recount process. While originally claiming not to support the recount, Hillary Clinton has since come onboard.
Clinton’s presence has resulted in some of the harshest responses from Trump surrogates, including a veiled threat from volatile Republican strategist Roger Stone, who said, “Hillary, I think, increases her chances of prosecution by acting this way.” Stone also claimed, without offering any evidence whatsoever, that the money raised by Stein had come from Clinton and liberal political activist George Soros.
Trump recently backpedaled on his campaign promise to prosecute Clinton over the use of a private email server. Now Stone has implied that Clinton’s support of the recount would give Trump reason to rethink his reprieve.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission, which is made up of three Democrats and three Republicans, unanimously agreed to the recount on Monday, and while Wisconsin hasn’t confirmed any voting irregularity, Mark Thomsen, the chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, seemed supportive of the move. “If nothing else, this will give us a very good audit. It’s going to reassure Wisconsin voters that we have a fair system,” he said on Monday, “that we’re not counting illegal votes.”
Still, the state’s announcement was met with a lawsuit from Stein, who decided to sue after Wisconsin declined to compel county officials to count the votes by hand. The lawsuit could perilously delay the recount, which must begin this week to meet the federal deadline.
If the lawsuit is settled on time, in Wisconsin at least, both sides won’t have long to wait; the recount in is slated to start this Thursday and should be all wrapped up by December 13.
In the other states, things are far less simple. There is still time for Trump to officially challenge the recount request in Michigan. In Pennsylvania, Stein faces a much more convoluted process before the recount can go ahead: She must successfully sue for a recount and provide evidence of voter irregularities, then she must receive at least three votes in favor of the recount in each of the state’s 9,163 voting precincts. And even then, in order for Clinton to actually win the White House, election results would have to be reversed in all three states. Stein herself admits that a reversal on that scale won’t happen.