Wisconsin to recount presidential votes


Wisconsin will undertake a recount of its presidential election votes after two requests from third-party candidates.

Green Party nominee Jill Stein filed her request just before the deadline Friday afternoon, the Wisconsin Elections Commission announced. Reform Party candidate Rocky De La Fuente also filed for a recount.

“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,” Stein said in a statement. 
“We demand voting systems that are accurate, secure and accountable to the people. This is part of a larger commitment to election reform that our campaign and the Green Party has long stood for, which includes open debates, an end to voter ID laws and voter suppression, and ranked choice voting.”

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said it is working under a Dec. 13 deadline to finish the recount. 

{mosads}“We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice,” Michael Haas, the commission’s administrator, said in a statement. 

“We plan to hold a teleconference meeting for county clerks next week and anticipate the recount will begin late in the week after the Stein campaign has paid the recount fee, which we are still calculating.”

News of the recount is likely to cause tremors among Hillary Clinton’s team after she narrowly lost the state and its 10 electoral votes to Donald Trump. Some of her allies were hopeful that Stein would succeed in her recount push but reluctant to be affiliated with a recount effort themselves. 

As Clinton’s popular vote lead has surpassed 2 million, her supporters and a group of computer science experts and lawyers have pressed her to call for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Stein’s campaign has been fundraising this week to bankroll a recount in the same three states. The filing deadline for Pennsylvania is Monday, and Michigan’s is Wednesday. 

She has raised more than $5.2 million so far, according to her campaign’s Web site, to cover filing fees, attorney costs and recount observers. 

Stein said in a statement this week that the reliability of voting machines needs to be “investigated” after suspicions about Russian hackers seeking to infiltrate voting systems.

“Election integrity experts have independently identified Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as states where “statistical anomalies” raised concerns. Our effort to recount votes in those states is not intended to help Hillary Clinton,” the fundraising page reads. “These recounts are part of an election integrity movement to attempt to shine a light on just how untrustworthy the U.S. election system is.”

Earlier this week as Stein signaled that she would ask for a recount, the Wisconsin Elections Commission sent a memo to all of the state’s county clerks asking them to estimate the costs of such an undertaking.

The memo acknowledged that the process “is going to create numerous challenges and significant frustration.”  

In his statement Friday, Haas cast doubt on the likelihood of widespread hacking. 

“Wisconsin has the most decentralized election system in the United States,” he said. “The system has strong local control coupled with state oversight, resting on the partnership between the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the 72 county clerks, and the 1,854 municipal clerks. 

“State law clearly gives each county’s Board of Canvassers the primary authority to conduct the recount, and to decide which ballots should and should not be counted,” he added. “Recounting votes is an open, transparent process in which each of the candidates may have representatives present to raise objections, and where the public may be present to observe.”  

According to the commission’s tally, Clinton trails Trump by about 22,000 votes. Trump earned 1,404,000 votes to Clinton’s 1,381,823. Stein received 31,006 votes and De La Fuente received 1,514.

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