Odds Of A Pennsylvania Recount

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein's effort to have the presidential election votes recounted in three states may have hit a snag. Wisconsin has already agreed to a recount, but will there be a recount in Pennsylvania? With deadlines fast approaching, and a complicated process in play, the answer is that it's unlikely.

Stein first called for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania last Wednesday. Her rationale is that these states were won by Donald Trump by too narrow of a margin, and she has reason to believe the votes could have been tampered with, alleging that "data suggests a significant need to verify machine-counted vote totals." Stein has insisted that her efforts were not to support the Clinton campaign, but to "ensure the integrity of our elections," as stated on her website.

On Saturday, Clinton's camp threw its support behind the effort. However, Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias noted in a Medium post that its own investigation has not found any evidence of voter fraud or hacking. Stein has raised $6.2 million to pay for the Pennsylvania and Wisconsin recounts, and is close to collecting all $7 million needed to pay for those and the Michigan recount as well.

But will these recounts actually happen? The Wisconsin Elections Commission agreed to a statewide recount last Friday, and Michigan's deadline to file isn't until Wednesday, but things in Pennsylvania are a little more complicated. Pennsylvania has different recount procedures than the other two states. A recount there cannot simply be triggered by a candidate's request. Stein has two options. First, she could file a lawsuit, in which she would have to provide evidence that the election results were invalid. Second is a voter-initiated recount, which requires her to get at least three voters in every voting district in the state to submit a notarized affidavit requesting the recount. That amounts to 27,000 people.

While just that sounds like a large undertaking, making it even more difficult is the fact that today is the deadline to file a recount lawsuit in Pennsylvania. And The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a Pennsylvania Department of State spokeswoman said that the deadline for filing for the voter-requested recount was last Monday, Nov. 21. But other news outlets, like CBS, have reported that the recount deadline varies from district to district, and that some may not expire until Monday or Tuesday. But looking at the sheer legwork involved, Stein's movement in Pennsylvania may have hit a wall.

If the recount in Pennsylvania falls through, it will be much to the delight of President-elect Donald Trump. Trump went on a tirade over the recount effort on Sunday, tweeting that he actually won the popular vote if one didn't count the "millions of people who voted illegally." Many were quick to point out that he was asserting that voter fraud had taken place, which would be grounds to trigger a recount, which is exactly what he was speaking out against.

Even if Stein does makes the recount happen in Pennsylvania, it is unlikely that the election outcome will change because of it. As Elias acknowledged in his Medium post, the campaign is "aware that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount."