Clinton campaign to participate in Wis. election recount

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign said Saturday that it will participate in a recount of the votes cast in Wisconsin's election.

The news comes after Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president, initiated a recount there and pledged to pursue additional ones in Pennsylvania and Michigan. President-elect Donald Trump denounced the recount as "a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded."

"The results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing," Trump said in a statement.

Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias said the Clinton campaign has found no evidence of election tampering, but is joining in the recount now that Stein has initiated it.

"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," Elias wrote on Medium, an alternative blogging site.

Wisconsin had been considered a reliable state for Democrats, but Trump won an upset victory there. The Clinton campaign will participate in the Pennsylvania and Michigan recounts if Stein pursues them, Elias wrote. The campaign is aware that the odds of a recount reversing the vote in any state are slim, he said.

"The number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount," Elias wrote. "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."

He added that the campaign has "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."

Trump said the recall effort is a way for Stein to "fill her coffers with money."

"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 said in a statement. "All three states were won by large numbers of voters, especially Pennsylvania, which was won by more than 70,000 votes."

Stein raised more than $5 million to pay for the recounts in the three states. She received only 1% of the votes in each of the states.

"What we're doing is standing up for an election system that we can trust," Stein said in a statement. "We deserve to have votes that we can believe in."

Unofficial vote tallies in the three battleground states show Trump won Michigan by less than 12,000 votes, Wisconsin by less than 30,000 and Pennsylvania by less than 70,000. Clinton would have to win recounts in all three states to receive enough electoral votes to win the presidency.

Under federal law, states must complete recounts within 35 days of a presidential election. This year, that deadline would be Dec. 13.

Elias emphasized the Clinton campaign, after quietly investigating the possibility of any outside interference in the vote tallies in the three states, found no evidence of hacking or any other kind of tampering with the election results. He said campaign officials, at the urging of supporters, have had lawyers, data scientists and analysts combing over the results since the day after the election to search for any anomalies.

Elias said the campaign felt the need to rule out any vote tampering in the wake of the hacking of the Democratic National Committee — an attack that U.S. officials blamed on the Russian government. The Russians also have been blamed for the "fake news" that circulated on Facebook and other Internet sites in the last few weeks before the election.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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