When Will The Vote Recounts Happen? Jill Stein's Campaign Is Taking Off
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has spent the days since the Nov. 8 election raising money and filing petitions for recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. But when will the recounts actually begin? All three states had gone to Democratic candidates in every presidential election since at least 1992. This year's election, however, represented a massive upset, as all of their 46 electoral votes went to Republican candidate Donald Trump. Stein, who stands to gain no electoral votes any of the recounts, denies that she is acting in Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's interests. She says that she only wants to "restore confidence" in America's democratic process and voting system.
Despite having raised more than $6 million for recount fees (close to her goal of $9.5 million) and finally gaining the cooperation of Clinton's lawyers, Stein has faced significant opposition. Many have called the recount a waste of time with some, including her running mate Ajamu Baraka, fearing how it will reflect on the Green Party.
Nevertheless, Stein has submitted petitions and paid fees in each state. And now that much of the necessary paperwork is in the question of when the recounts in each state will begin still remains. Let's take a look at timelines and recount processes state by state.
The recounts began on Dec. 1. According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, $3.5 million of Stein's recount funds have gone specifically to efforts in the Badger State. And despite Stein's efforts to require that all of the nearly three million ballots be recounted by hand, Wisconsin ballots will be recounted by machine. Election workers there have 13 days to reach a final official tally on the votes, per state elections law. Despite the recount already beginning, the Republican Party of Wisconsin has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission. Their opposition is on the grounds that the recount effort is "an illegal scheme designed to circumvent both campaign finance law and public scrutiny." No telling yet how much these serious accusations will stop the recount underway, but with 10 electoral votes at stake, it's unlikely the GOP will back down without a fight.
Stein filed her petition for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania, where Clinton lost to Trump by over 68,000 votes, on Nov. 28. According to the petition, Pennsylvania votes are particularly vulnerable to tampering, as they rely completely on electronic voting machines, which are allegedly vulnerable to hacking and other cyberattacks. However, a statewide effort is now unlikely, as a judge rejected recounts in 72 of Montgomery County's 425 precincts on Nov. 30, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer. There is still the possibility that a partial recount could begin immediately, once the state's Board of Elections meets on Dec. 1 and decides which divisions should be looked at again. Whether or not the board comes to a decision to begin recounts today, a final verdict must be reached by Dec. 19 at the latest -- the date when Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes are set to be cast.
Stein filed her last recount petition in Michigan on Nov. 30, just ahead of the deadline. As a result, the state's 4.8 million ballot recount could begin as early as Dec. 2, according to The Detroit News. On her website, Stein specifically cites the over 75,000 submitted ballots on which choices for president were left blank. Though, as The Washington Post reports, voters do not have to choose a presidential candidate. Trump could still challenge the recount, which would delay the process. However, his camp has not announced any plans to do so. Still, many are speaking out against the projected cost of the recount, which is estimated to be over $4 million.
If all works out in Stein's favor, next week could see all three states in the midst of full or partial ballot recounts. So far, there is no evidence of wide-scale voter fraud or machine hacking. But either way, the country will be hanging on to see how all of these efforts will play out, and what the results will mean for a Trump presidency.