The political world is focused on election recounts, particularly in the three Rust Belt states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — the three relatively close calls that handed the presidency to Donald Trump, surprising the political establishment and most Americans. Thanks to Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and thousands of online donations, the recount in Wisconsin will begin soon. But Pennsylvania and Michigan are another story. Michigan will be easier for Stein to request, but Pennsylvania has different rules about who can request a recount and how. So can President Obama request a vote recount?
To put it simply, no, he cannot — at least in a way that would effect the outcome of the race. President Obama is not on the ballot this year. There are 43 states and D.C. that allow "a losing candidate, a voter, a group of voters, or other concerned parties" to ask for a recount, according to the National Conference on State Legislators. This time around, Obama would just be a voter, and therefore only able to request the recount in Illinois as he still votes in Chicago, where he and his family lived before he won the presidency in 2008. Since Clinton won that state, it wouldn't make much sense.
Even if he could, there's a good likelihood that he wouldn't. The White House has been adamant that there was no hacking, and a senior administration official gave a statement to The New York Times denying any misconduct by foreign actors:
We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people.
The Federal government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber activity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on election day. As we have noted before, we remained confident in the overall integrity of electoral infrastructure, a confidence that was borne out on election day. As a result, we believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.
In fact, The Hill reported that a book that is being written already about the election points to Obama being one of the influences on Clinton's decision to concede on election night. He called her to suggest that she do so, and only after that did Clinton ask for the phone to call Trump. So Obama is probably not the number one supporter of the recount.
Luckily for Clinton supporters, Stein is — as are her many online donors. Now the next states for her team to work on are Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Michigan process should be relatively straightforward. People are already gearing up to get started once the results are certified Monday and Stein presents her filing. Pennsylvania might prove trickier, as a candidate can get a recount ordered through courts, and therefore Stein has opted to try and get voters to request one instead. She's looking for volunteers.
So if you're in Pennsylvania, think about signing up. Otherwise stay tuned to see how this goes.