Jill Stein Makes Michigan Third State for Presidential Recount
But Hillary Clinton and her close aides see the recount drive largely as a waste of resources.
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein on Wednesday requested a full hand recount of Michigan's presidential vote, making it the third state narrowly won by Republican Donald Trump where she's asked for another look at the results.
Stein previously requested recounts of the presidential votes in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
President-elect Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes out of nearly 4.8 million ballots cast in Michigan, but Stein alleges that irregularities and the possibility that vote scanning devices could have been hacked call the results into question.
Elections officials in all three states have expressed confidence in their election results.
Michigan's recount could start as early as Friday, though a challenge to the recount by Trump could delay it.
Trump's victory is highly unlikely to be reversed in any of the states, but Stein has said the recount will ensure the integrity of the election.
Republicans have said a Michigan recount would cost taxpayers far more than the $973,000 Stein must pay when filing her recount petition.
The Wisconsin Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission on Wednesday alleging that Stein's recount effort amounts to illegal coordination with Clinton designed to circumvent the law and public scrutiny.
Stein campaign manager David Cobb said in a statement that Stein is not coordinating with anyone and dismissed the complaint as a "PR stunt to push a false narrative that will ultimately have no impact on the recount in Wisconsin."
Trump defeated Clinton in Pennsylvania by about 71,000 votes, or about 1 percentage point.
Clinton and her close aides see the recount drive largely as a waste of resources, according to people close to the former Democratic presidential candidate. Aides say Clinton is focused on moving past her unexpected defeat and has devoted little attention to the recount or thinking about her political future. She's been spending time with her grandchildren and going for walks near her Westchester home.
Clinton's team was aware of possible discrepancies soon after the election, telling top donors on a conference call four days after the election that they were looking into potential problems in the three states. But while many campaign staffers believe Russian hacking influenced the outcome of the election, blaming foreign actors for incursions into campaign and Democratic National Committee emails, they've found no evidence of the kind of widespread ballot box tampering that would change the results of the race — or even flip a single state.
Clinton's team conducted an exhaustive investigation into the possibility of outside interference in the vote tally, tasking lawyers, data scientists and political analysts to comb over the results. They contacted outside experts, examined the laws governing recounts and double-checked all the vote tallies.
The campaign found no "evidence of manipulation," wrote Marc Elias, the general counsel for Clinton's campaign, in an online essay. But, he said, Clinton agreed to minimal participation in Stein's effort, largely to make sure that her interests are represented. They put out a call for volunteers to monitor the proceedings and are relying on local lawyers to handle filings and other legal matters.
Clinton is under pressure to participate from her supporters, some of whom have struggled to accept the election results given her lead in the popular vote, which has grown to more than 2.3 million in the weeks after the Nov. 8 election.
"Now that a recount is underway, we believe we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported," Elias wrote.
Stein has raised $6.7 million for her recount campaign, according to a count posted on her campaign website on Wednesday.