Counting Backwards: Green Party files for vote recount in swing states


Jill Stein speaking at the Green Party Presidential Candidate Town Hall in Mesa, Arizona earlier this year. Stein won one percent of the popular vote, and has filed for a recount in several swing states. Photo by Gary Skidmore.

In the weeks following the United States presidential election, the Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has officially filed for a vote recount in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Stein additionally plans to file for a recount in Michigan.

In the 3 swing states being recounted, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton lost to Republican President-elect Donald Trump by a fraction (tens of thousands) of votes. The combined total loss in the states was 107,000, which means that votes being altered or miscounted in certain cities could have easily impacted the state’s winner. Although a recount could change the results of the popular vote, Trump’s significant number  of electoral votes makes the chances of another candidate winning the election very slim.

Both Trump and Clinton have responded to the efforts made by Stein. Clinton’s campaign has indicated their support for the recount, though expressed that they have not found any proof of vote alteration. In a post on Medium, Clinton’s campaign counsel Marc Erik Elias stated, “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.

Trump has responded to the recount movement, calling the actions made by Stein “a scam.” “This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount,” Trump told CNN. In an interview with CNN, Stein responded to the allegations made by Trump that the money fundraised will never be spent on the recount, explaining that the funds are kept in a separate account.

In addition to opposition from President-Elect Trump, Stein has also encountered difficulties in carrying out the recounts. As of Monday, November 28, Stein has sued the state of Wisconsin after the state’s Elections Commission refused to require precincts to carry out the recount by hand. The recount must begin by this week according to state law, however, a lawsuit could delay the process.

Though Stein has so far announced her intentions to conduct recounts in only 3 states, she stated in a tweet that she is willing to file for a recount in any state in which the deadline had not already passed. 

George Martin, Wisconsin Green Party Chairman told CNN, “This is a process, a first step to examine whether our electoral democracy is working.”