It’s been almost a month since the United States presidential election but recent recount efforts indicate that the race is far from over. Last week brought yet another twist in what has proved to be one of the most bizarre elections in US history.
On November 23rd, Green party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, launched an effort to raise $7million to fund a recount in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan – three Trump-won states that were instrumental in Hillary Clinton’s failure to capture the presidency. However, Stein’s efforts do not indicate a change of heart toward the Democratic nominee. Stein’s official website states:
“Election integrity experts have independently identified Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as states where “statistical anomalies” raised concerns. Our effort to recount votes in those states is not intended to help Hillary Clinton. These recounts are part of an election integrity movement to attempt to shine a light on just how untrustworthy the U.S. election system is.” -Jill Stein website
Calls for a recount come amid fears of hacking. Although there is no concrete evidence as-of-yet that this was the case with the election previous incidents have given some reason to believe that a breach in computer security could be involved. Supporters of the recount point to cases of the Democratic National Committee and the email account of Clinton chairman, John Podesta. Earlier this year, both were proven to have been accessed by Russian – backed hackers, although this has been vehemently denied by Vladimir Putin.
Clinton’s camp has jumped into the recount efforts, albeit reluctantly. Although she won the popular vote by two- million her general counsel, Mark Elias, has made it clear that she had no motive to push for a recount. In a published letter on medium.com he stated:
“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.” -Mark Elias, general counsel of Clinton campaign
While Elias’ statement has made it apparent that Clinton’s role in the recount is that of obligatory participant, not enthused instigator, that didn’t stop president-elect Trump from attacking the former Secretary-of-State in a barrage of tweets where he attempted to disparage Clinton by quoting various instances from the last debate and from her concession speech.
The hypocrisy of a person who so recently stated that in the face of election defeat he would possibly not concede wasn’t lost on many. Elias summed up the ironic situation best on November 27th, tweeting “We are getting attacked for participating in a recount that we didn’t ask for by the man who won election but thinks there was massive fraud.” On the same day Trump ignited fury from all sides with an inflammatory afternoon Twitter session in which he made claims that Clinton’s popular vote victory was due to unlawful voting.
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
As of November 25th, Stein and “Rocky” De La Fuente, another Independent candidate, officially filed petitions for a recount in Wisconsin along with a $3,499,689 wire transfer to cover costs. The official recount is slated to begin on December 1st although the process has been mired in further controversy as a judge has recently denied Stein’s request for a hand recount. Stein has claimed she will pursue legal action over the decision but meanwhile she has filed recount requests in Pennsylvania and Michigan. On Monday, November 28th, the latter state officially was claimed as a Trump victory, which means the president-elect gained an additional sixteen electoral votes which may now be in question as the recount wages on.
According to federal law, recounts must be completed thirty-five days after the presidential election. However the December 13th deadline still does not spell an end to the election as the Electoral College does not meet to cast their official votes until December 19th. Political experts from across the spectrum agree that the chance of a recount leading to an election upset is extremely unlikely as is the chance that the results could be swayed by “faithless electors” voting opposite of their state’s outcome, a hopeful scenario that has been pushed in numerous petitions, signed by millions.
At this point Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are all wondering the same thing – will this election ever end?
-Jasmine Williams for The Untitled Magazine