After a period of public silence about the results of the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer said the campaign will play a role in the Wisconsin recount initiated Friday by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The Clinton campaign will follow the same approach in Michigan and Pennsylvania if the third-party hopeful pursues recounts in those states.
“Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” Marc Elias, Clinton’s general counsel, wrote Saturday on Medium.
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Stein filed for a recount just before Wisconsin’s 5 p.m. deadline on Friday. She originally promised supporters that if she raised $2.5 million, then the campaign would also file for similar action in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Based on Donald Trump’s current standing in the Electoral College, Clinton would have to win all three states to overturn the election results.
According to a Friday statement from Michael Haas, an administrator for Wisconsin Election Commission, the recount will begin late next week after the Stein campaign has paid the recount fee. “The state is working under a federal deadline of December 13 to complete the recount,” said the statement. “As a result, county boards of canvassers may need to work evenings and weekends to meet the deadlines.”
Official results from Wisconsin’s 72 counties indicate that 2.975 million votes were cast in the state — Trump won 1.404 million votes to Clinton’s 1.382 million.
Elias said that participating in the recount was the right step to ensure a fair outcome for all sides. Acknowledging “the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton,” Elias emphasized that Clinton allies had combed through data and queried experts since President-elect Donald Trump’s upset victory. But it had not found evidence of any hacking of actual votes, and Elias — a veteran of many recount fights — conceded that Clinton’s deficit even in the closest state, Michigan, “exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount.”
“Regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself.
Speculation about potential hacking of several states’ results reached a fever pitch before the holiday weekend, after a New York magazine article cited an effort by cyber security experts to convince the Clinton camp that they had found “persuasive evidence” that results in the three states may have been “manipulated or hacked.”
On Wednesday, however, J. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan — one of the experts — clarified in a Medium post that he was not claiming to have evidence of a hack, but that he still recommends a full audit beyond the partial ones that are likely to occur anyway.
Other accounts also knocked down the idea that electronic voting machines had been tampered with.
Clinton leads the president-elect by 2.2 million votes in the popular vote, as of Saturday morning. The former secretary of state has garnered 64,637,140 votes nationally, compared to Trump’s 62,408,908, according to a count curated by Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.