Let the Recount Begin, Wisconsin Agrees to Presidential Recount

Friday afternoon, The Wisconsin Elections Commission announced that that it would hold a statewide recount of the presidential vote. The move was in response to petitions from two candidates, the Green Party’s Jill Stein and independent Rocky Roque De La Fuente. Wisconsin Elections Commission Director Mike Haas explained in a statement, “We plan to hold a teleconference meeting for county clerks next week and anticipate the recount will begin late in the week after the Stein campaign has paid the recount fee, which we are still calculating.”

The recount comes as more voters are asking, “How did Trump get elected?” Haas stated that the recount is very detail-oriented but he is concerned that some counties will have trouble finishing the recount on time. The ballots must be examined to determine voter intent before being counted as a proper vote. Haas also stated that, “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.”

So what brought this all about? Two words, Jill Stein. The one-time Green candidate for president has been working to finance a recount through a fundraising page where she exceeded her original goal of $2.5 million by raising $4.5 million by Friday morning. With that money, the recount will take place in Wisconsin and Stein plans to file on Monday to ask Pennsylvania for a recount.

Stein stated that she was acting due to “compelling evidence of voting anomalies” and that data analysis had indicated “significant discrepancies in vote totals” that were released by state authorities. “These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified,” she said in a statement. “We deserve elections we can trust.” The three states that Stein has focused on were won by Trump but by very slim margins.

Supporters of Hillary Clinton have been urging the former Secretary of State to ask for a recount after a group of academics and activists argued that Russia or another foreign government may have interfered with voting results. This group is preparing to deliver a report detailing its concerns to congressional committee chairs and federal authorities early next week.

Dr. Barbara Simons, an adviser to the US election assistance commission and expert on electronic voting, said, “We need to have post-election ballot audits.” Simons is understood to have contributed analysis to the effort but declined to characterize the precise nature of her involvement. Another group of analysts, The National Voting Rights Institute and its founder, John Bonifaz, and Professor Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan’s center for Computer Security and Society, are also reasoning that a recount must take place.

Halderman explained that paper ballots and voting equipment need to be examined in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan now. “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.” That is where Jill Stein’s campaign for the recount comes in and the rapid response from donors who want answers too.

According to the election results in Wisconsin, Trump only won by the slightest of margins of 0.7%. Next in Pennsylvania, Trump won by 1.2 % and that deadline is Monday for a recount. Then in Michigan the official count hasn’t been issued yet but unofficial totals have Trump leading by 0.3%.

If Trump were to lose these three states he would lose 46 electoral college votes. Donald Trump therefore would not be the next president of the United States but Hillary Clinton would. J. Alex Halderman, director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, is urging the recount, explaining that it, “ will help allay doubt and give voters justified confidence that the results are accurate. It will also set a precedent for routinely examining paper ballots, which will provide an important deterrent against cyberattacks on future elections. Recounting the ballots now can only lead to strengthened electoral integrity, but the window for candidates to act is closing fast.”

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