After a surge in online donations over the holiday weekend, Green candidate Jill Stein filed an official request for a statewide recount of votes in Wisconsin on Friday. The move comes as critics question whether recounts in three swing states will actually overturn enough votes to alter the election's outcome. Yet Stein clarified Friday she wasn't calling for a recount in order to see President-elect Donald Trump blocked from the White House.
"The purpose here is not to overturn the results of the election," Stein said Friday during a brief Facebook Live speech. "The purpose here is to establish voting integrity, to verify our votes, and to ensure that in this election and going forward that we can count on the accuracy and the security and the veracity of our votes. We need to know that the voting result is actually what we intended and that the system has not been tampered with or compromised."
Over the course of only a few days, Stein raised more than $5.4 million for recount efforts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan as of Friday evening, according to a crowdfunding page set up by her presidential campaign. Stein's campaign has estimated the total cost for recount efforts — which include filing fees, attorney and logistical expenses — to be somewhere around $7 million.
Stein's push for statewide recounts in three swing states Trump won Nov. 8 follows reports computer scientists had notified Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign that they thought they'd found evidence that would suggest electronic voting machines in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan had been somehow hacked or tampered with.
Stein said Friday she was concerned by how prevalent talk of hacking had been during this year's election. "This was a hack-riddled election," Stein said on Facebook Live. "On top of that our voting machines are very open to hacking... "We have a system that basically invites tampering [being used] in an election where we know there was hacking going on all over the place."
While Stein's recount fundraising efforts appear to be drawing an extensive amount of attention and donors (Stein claimed Friday that more than 100,000 people had donated), some have questioned her motives as well as how many miscounted votes might actually be uncovered. Her campaign, however, has openly acknowledged the unlikeliness a recount will significantly alter the election's result. "The recount was not filed in order to change the election outcome, which is unlikely, nor to favor any one candidate," David Cobb, Stein's campaign manager, said. "We are pursuing this recount to verify the integrity of the election result."
While the Green Party candidate stressed a need for election reform and a system voters felt they could trust, she emphasized her reasoning for petitioning for statewide recounts in three states was not to overturn the election's result. "We are standing up for an election system that we can trust; for voting systems that respect and encourage our vote, and make it possible for all of us to exercise our constitutional right to vote," she said.