Somehow, 2016 presidential election drama is not quite over.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign team will now cooperate with a Green Party-led effort to recount ballots in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where the combined margin of victory for President-elect Donald Trump sits at just over 100,000 votes. The margin is small, but still much too large for the recount effort to provide hope for Clinton supporters. Concerns about voting booth hacking has fueled a grassroots-funded attempt to investigate the results in those states.
Trump won in an eye-popping upset on Nov. 8, taking a series of states in the upper midwest thought to be Democratic strongholds.
“The campaign is grateful to all those who have expended time and effort to investigate various claims of abnormalities and irregularities,” Hillary For America legal counsel Marc Elias wrote in a post on Medium on Saturday. “While that effort has not, in our view, resulted in evidence of manipulation of results, now that a recount is underway, we believe we have 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.”
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein launched a recount effort on Wednesday and has racked up $5.7 million in donations toward that effort as of this writing. The party’s announcement followed a New York Magazine article that suggested voting machines in Wisconsin may have been hacked to boost Trump’s vote count just enough for the Republican to win. Trump received significantly more votes in areas with voting machines than areas with paper ballots, but that perplexing result was quickly explained away by polling gurus including 538‘s Nate Silver and The New York Times’s Nate Cohn. The Nates said Trump did better in voting machine areas of Wisconsin because those areas are also the type of rural areas that were home to Trump supporters across the country. Urban centers of Wisconsin used paper ballots, and were also more likely to be home to Clinton supporters.
But the recount will commence. Stein’s campaign has filed for a recount in Wisconsin and has until Monday to do the same in Pennsylvania. Michigan’s deadline is Wednesday. Though Michigan and Pennsylvania also only narrowly went for Trump, no one has publicly said they believe the election was at all rigged in those states, and there’s no reason to believe Clinton would prevail after a recount.
Elias wrote that the Clinton campaign wasn’t going to start a recount by themselves, but now they “intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.”
Later, he added, “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.”