Clinton campaign backs Stein effort to ensure vote recount is ‘fair’

Donald Trump has said Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is using a recount to "fill her coffers". © Jim Young
A top lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has come out in support of Dr. Jill Stein’s recount efforts in Wisconsin, in order to ensure that the initiative, which Donald Trump has labeled “ridiculous” and a “scam,” is “fair to all sides.”

Clinton lawyer Mark Elias said in a post on Medium on Saturday that the campaign will participate in the Wisconsin recount which was initiated by Green Party nominee Stein on Friday.

Elias said the campaign will follow the same approach in Michigan and Pennsylvania if Stein pursues recounts in those states.

Results would need to be overturned in all three of the states to change the outcome of the election. Stein has tweeted that she will do a recount in any state in which the deadline to do so has not passed. 

Elias said the Clinton camp had not sought a recount because they “had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology,” however now that a recount has been initiated they will take part “in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides."

The Wisconsin Election Commission said on Friday that the recount will begin late next week after Dr Stein pays the recount fee.

The commission’s statement noted that 2,975,313 votes were cast in Wisconsin with 1,404,000 of those going to Trump and 1,381,823 cast for Clinton. The remaining 189,490 votes went to a host of third party candidates.

Elias went to great lengths to note that recounts are extremely unlikely to change the outcome of the election as the number of votes separating Trump and Clinton in Michigan, the closest of the three states , “well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount," he said.

However, he said the campaign would be involved as a point of principle.

"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,” Elias wrote.

President elect Trump released a statement savaging the recount and attacking Jill Stein.

"The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, ‘we must accept this result and then look to the future.’”

READ MORE: Jill Stein raises $4.5mn for vote recount in swing states

Trump said the recount is "just a way for Jill Stein to fill her coffers with money, most of which she'll never even spend on this ridiculous recount."

"This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused."

Since Jill Stein launched a petition for state-wide recounts of votes for US president, she has found herself in the center of media attention, with speculation about how much money the Green Party candidate raised for her ‘re-count’ campaign, and how many activists joined her efforts. Twitter has already launched #Recount2016 hashtag.

“Experts pointed us to these 3 states. We're open to hearing from experts regarding any state & pursuing voting integrity if deadlines permit,” she wrote on Twitter.

Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of media studies at New York University, believes the media’s interest in Stein has been artificial. She was almost completely ignored by the mass media during her presidential campaign because her rhetoric was not in line with what the MSM expected from her, he said. According to Miller, the media initially tuned Stein out, making her “an invisible woman.”

“Now Jill Stein has actually done ‘the right thing’ and pulled for recounts in three states, for the exit polls strong suggest that it was a computerized election fraud. She is getting a lot of attention, but all negative.”

But elections can’t be hacked, “there is nothing wrong with the machines,” says Miller, adding that what critics of the results may speculate is that Russia was behind the elections.

“Nobody steals elections and nobody steals them electronically,” he said.