Jill Stein Raises Over $6 Million Toward Effort to Recount Votes, Unbreak Our Hearts

If you’re like me, you’ve been off the internet the last few days due to traveling, visiting your family and hanging out with friends, and you’re just now reacquainting yourself with our harsh reality living in a shitshow of a country. While you were away, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein raised millions of dollars for a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — three states where the margin of votes between Trump and Clinton were the smallest compared to other states. According to USA Today, “Trump won in Michigan by less than 12,000 votes, Wisconsin by less than 30,000 and Pennsylvania by less than 70,000.” All three were upsets that ultimately led to Trump’s victory, even though Clinton leads the popular vote by more than 2 million votes now. Currently, Stein has raised over $6 million for recount efforts and has successfully filed for recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, with Michigan in the works.

On Wednesday, Stein announced crowdfunding efforts for a recount in those states in the name of “election integrity.” Stein’s campaign came a day after New York Magazine reported top computer scientists and election lawyers urged the Clinton campaign to seek a recount because they believed the results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked, with a concern that the Russian government could be behind it.

J. Alex Halderman, the director of the Center for Computer Security and Society at the University of Michigan, expanded on his thoughts in a post on Medium, where he said a cyberattack was unlikely in this case but possible. He explained that Michigan, Wisconsin and parts of Pennsylvania use paper ballots, which aren’t hackable, but the optical-scan computers that count those ballots could be hacked. Halderman writes:

“I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don’t believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other. The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts.”

Since the Clinton campaign didn’t find any evidence of hacking or tampering with voting technology, they didn’t pursue a recount. In order for a recount to happen, an appeal must come from a presidential candidate — in this case, it was Jill Stein, who is also responsible for the costs. Stein’s website says it’s going to take a total of $7 million for recount efforts in all three states — $2.2 million for filing costs in addition to attorney’s fees and the costs of statewide recount observers.

Stein told NPR she’s not interested in helping Hillary Clinton but is interested in fair elections.

“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 told NPR. “They are not expecting the outcome to change here. 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.”

Clinton’s campaign will be participating in the recount process in Wisconsin as well as the other two states if Stein follows through with her plan. In a post on Medium by Marc Elias, Clinton’s general counsel, wrote although they didn’t find any “actionable evidence” for a recount, they “intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.” He continues on with: “But regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself.”

Meanwhile, President-elect Donald Trump has called the recount “ridiculous.” “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,” Trump said in a statement. My, my, my, how the tables have turned, Donny. Let’s just remember that at the last presidential debate, he refused to say he would accept the election results. Think Progress also pointed out that his campaign manager said Trump wouldn’t concede until the election “results are actually known, certified and verified” back in October. On Sunday, Trump also claimed on Twitter he won the popular vote because millions voted illegally, which totally discredits his own argument. I’m sure you know this by now, but Trump really doesn’t give a shit about being fair or playing by the rules.

There’s no telling what will come out of this recount process. Maybe we’ll find out that there was some hacking involved. Maybe they’ll just confirm what we already knew about America. I guess we can only hope with all our might, just like all the people who donated to Stein’s campaign, that this dude isn’t our president.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.

11 Comments

  1. This might be me being pessimistic- which is totally out of character, by the way- but I’m kind of wondering about why Jill Stein wasn’t crowdfunding this during the campaign season. She, (or the Green Party), could have probably foreseen that we were going to have problems with voter suppression/provisional ballot issues and hackers tampering with machines, so instead of funding her campaign for it to go nowhere… why didn’t they let Stein reach a point of relative popularity and name recognition and then begin efforts to fundraise for a confirmation of the results?

    I mean, every PR person involved in this is churning out the same narrative that swing state voting machines WEREN’T hacked, but they very obviously (probably) were. It has happened so many times in the past and the activity in this arena has ramped up considerably lately. There’s no reason for top security officials to believe it has NOT been tampered with. They are probably writing hella books and conducting several studies RIGHT NOW.

    To that end, if Stein had begun this effort earlier, her campaign could have framed it this way: “In order to preserve the integrity of the democratic process, we’d like to ask you to donate a few dollars to making sure a Federal recount happens after election day. This should happen no matter the result.” I think the efficacy of such a statement would have been tremendous! Everyone wants to know their vote *actually* matters and is counted as intended.

    So, while I support a recount happening and I derive a LOT of hope from knowing one will, I kind of wanted to insert this criticism for us to keep in mind.

    • Yeah, strategically I can see where you’re coming from-but also had she started fundraising for a recount before the election people probably would have (continued to) label her as crazy, and it may not have gained as much attention as it has now. Also, this is a really great thing that’s she doing and she 100% does not have to do it-I don’t think the onus is necessarily on her or should be on her to raise funds to recount an election she clearly was not gonna win. I don’t necessarily disagree with you, I’m just tired of everyone hating on Jill Stein…sigh.

      • Oh I absolutely understand that! I’ve just had a bone to pick with her since she was interviewed on InfoWars this summer. I couldn’t understand why anyone who wanted any degree of credibility would be associated with that website.

    • I agree that it would not have looked so partisan as it looks right now, but also that people would not have cared as much of she has tried to get it done before the election.

      I, personally, am glad to see her fighting the good fight, especially despite the overwhelmingly negative public opinion of her. I’m not saying she’s perfect by any means, but there is little to no personal gain in this for her – mostly just some publicity for the green party. I think a lot of people saw the polls (myself included) before the election and allowed themselves to become complacent. Now we need something to do. I don’t have any hope that this will overturn the election result, but I donated because I want to fight back at at a system that is clearly failing Americans. Not just because of the electoral college, but because of how hard it is for some folks to vote, because some voices in our government matter more than others, because if I have to hear Donald-fucking-Trump talk about a rigged election or illegal voters again I am going to lose my shit. And if I get to be a thorn in his side while he does it, all the merrier for me.

  2. Thanks for covering this, AS! I was surprised no mention of it came over the weekend.

    I donated, this is something I want to be a part of.

    At the time of this comment, Stein still needs to raise $620,000 by Wednesday to be able to file in Pennsylvania. The average donation is $45. If you wish to donate, the website is: https://jillstein.nationbuilder.com/recount

    No pressure to anyone of course, and there are plenty of other ways to be a part of the resistance, but I just thought this was worth mentioning.

  3. Yvonne, thank you for writing something on this. The whole situation of Stein and the Green Party raising private funds to force a recount has been confusing to me, and this article kind of helps. I just wonder why, when those three states were won by such small margins, there isn’t some kind of government financial resource that can be mobilized to fund a recount rather than requiring a presidential candidate to raise the money.

    The prospect of recounting and auditing a bunch of paper ballots also makes me think of Florida in 2000 and then I start groaning.

  4. The recount thing is ridiculous. Anyone with a brain can see the Green Party is just using this to fund their own party. It’s even in the fine print that they will put the money towards their party.

    Trump won, move on, and focus on reality. This is all a big waste of time and money.

    • I mean, they actually are calling for a recount and the funds raised will go directly to that. But yes, any leftover funds after the recount is completed will be donated to the Green Party and that may well be more money than they have previously raised in any election cycle.

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