If you’d told me that the day would begin with Jill Stein announcing a recount effort in the three key swing states where Hillary Clinton nearly won, and that the day would end with supporters of both candidates pouring millions of dollars into that recount effort, I suppose I’d have told you that it was no crazier than anything else that’s happened in the 2016 election. And yet here we are. Stein has reached her $2.5 million goal to cover the filing fees for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Here’s what happens now.
State law is pretty straightforward in these three states. Based on the specific margins of Donald Trump’s victories, any losing candidate can require a recount – so long as they can pay for it. During the course of Wednesday, when it became clear that Stein would likely reach her goal, Wisconsin’s Elections Commission director announced that his state had begun preparing for a recount. There has been no word out of the other two states yet, but based on the laws in each, those recounts are going to happen as well.
The net effect of Jill Stein triggering these recounts is the same as if Hillary Clinton had asked for it: all of the votes will be recounted. If it turns out that Donald Trump’s razor thin margins in all three states were indeed incorrect and that Hillary actually won all three states, then those Electoral Votes will shift to her, and she’s the next President. What are the odds of all three states determining that Hillary was the real winner of each, even after the recounts are finished? Who knows. No one should get their hopes too high.
Meanwhile, Jill Stein will continue raising money to cover the inevitable legal fees and overseers that are required for statewide recounts, which are massive undertakings. She’s said all along that she might need another few million dollars to eventually cover all of it, and that the $2.5 million stated goal was simply to cover the recount filing fees – which were coming up on quick deadlines. But with money pouring in by the minute at an accelerating pace throughout the day, it seems a given that Stein will get what she needs for the attorneys and such.
In the mean time, some have asked why she’s not pursuing a recount in Florida. That’s because state law doesn’t allow any candidate to request a recount. The only way for a recount to happen in Florida is if its Secretary of State, a guy named Ken Detzner, orders it. There is already a popular petition in play to try to force him to go through with a recount. And those looking to donate to Jill Stein’s ongoing recount fundraising goal, which she has now boosted to $4.5 million to cover the attorneys fees, can do so here.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report