Jill Stein, Green Party

Image courtesy of RT

Greens Raise Cash to Challenge
Election Results

| published November 24, 2016 |

By Thursday Review staff writers

Though it hasn’t presented any evidence of fraud in any U.S. state, nor has it officially questioned the results of the national vote totals, the Green Party—led by its presidential candidate Jill Stein—has raised enough cash to pay for election recounts in at least three states.

Stein says the majority of the money was raised online, mostly from small donations. The total, which now exceeds $4.3 million, is enough to initiate official recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—states previously expected to tilt toward Democrat Hillary Clinton but which instead all voted for Republican Donald Trump instead. Going into the election earlier in November, most polls showed Clinton leading Trump in those three traditionally Democratic states.

The Green Party, buoyed by the rapid success of the recent fundraising efforts, now hopes to raise enough money to possibly consider demanding recounts in several other states as well, including North Carolina and Arizona. On late Wednesday and early Thursday Stein sent out email, Facebook and Twitter appeals to keep the donations flowing, stressing that at least $2 million more would be needed to call into question the results in other key states.

Neither the Greens nor Stein have explicitly suggested that there was vote fraud in any of the states considered for recounts, but she has stressed that since Clinton, in the end, won the popular vote, recounts in three-to-four critical states could still prove pivotal in the unlikely event of a federal court challenge to the outcome of the November election. Under U.S. law, and under the provisions of several state regulations, recounts can proceed even if there is no evidence of fraud or mishandling; all that is required is the money to pay for the recount.

Stopping short of declaring results fraudulent, Stein did however suggest that reports of hacker activity before and during the election require vigilance to make sure vote totals are reliable and trustworthy.

“After a divisive and painful presidential race,” Stein said on Wednesday, “reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to question whether our election results are reliable.” Stein said that such concerns need to be addressed and resolved before Trump is inaugurated in January.

Clinton’s final vote count placed her roughly 2.3 million votes ahead of Trump, though Trump won enough states to easily put himself ahead in the all-important Electoral College tally. Trump also won several states traditionally the home turf of Democratic Presidential candidates, especially Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Concern has been raised in some quarters about Trump’s surprising win despite a vast majority of polls and surveys which showed—as late as the Monday prior to the election—that Clinton was ahead by some 3-to-5 points. Polls also showed Clinton maintaining a substantial lead in four-to-five critical states, though in the end Trump won many of the states expected to go to Clinton. Some advocates of modern polling have expressed concern that the vote totals diverged so substantially from the final results, though other analysts have pointed out that polls have been wrong in the past, and that electoral landslides have occurred despite the prognostications of pollsters and statisticians.

Some analysts also suggest that many voters predisposed to support Trump did not report accurately when asked by pollsters how they intended to cast their votes. Many post-election polls show that voter turnout by likely Trump supporters greatly exceeded most pre-election estimates. Conversely, voter turnout by Democrats dropped more sharply than they have in more than a decade. By the estimates of some Democratic strategists, at least 2.5 million fewer Democrats voted in 2016 than those who voted in 2012. Voter turnout was especially low in traditionally Democratic strongholds—Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Charlotte, New Orleans, as well as Pam Beach, Broward and Dade Counties in Florida. Even Democratic analysts suggest the low turnout in these areas deeply damaged Clinton’s overall chances of victory.

Stein’s call for more donations was met by an influx of additional cash, and Green Party representatives expect the total to grow over the next few days.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Trump Wins Presidency, Defies Polls and Pundits; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; November 9, 2016.

Trump's Huge Win: How the Polls and Pundits Got it Wrong; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; November 11, 2016.