Hillary Clinton’s election campaign said Saturday it would join in a recount of votes in the state of Wisconsin although it has not seen any irregularities so far in the White House contest won by Donald Trump.
Marc Erik Elias, an election lawyer for the Democratic candidate, said in a post on Medium.com that the campaign would also participate in recounts in the closely contested states of Michigan and Pennsylvania if they are arranged.
Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by just over 100,000 votes. The razor thin victories in those states pushed him above the 270 votes needed for victory in the Electoral College.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein has requested a recount in Wisconsin and has announced her intention to also seek recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
“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,” said Elias, the Clinton counsel.
“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,” he added.
“If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well,” Elias said.
Although experts say there is virtually no chance of overturning the final result, the recounts could reignite debate over the legitimacy of Trump’s election, already fueled by Clinton’s lead in the popular vote, which now stands at more than two million.
Clinton lost by around 20,000 votes in Wisconsin, 70,000 votes in Pennsylvania and 10,000 votes in Michigan.
Elias noted that Trump’s 10,000-vote lead in Michigan “well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount.”
“But 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 said.
Elias said the Clinton campaign had been conducting its own investigation of the election results after receiving “hundreds of messages, emails, and calls urging us to do something, anything, to investigate claims that the election results were hacked and altered in a way to disadvantage Secretary Clinton.”
But he said the Clinton campaign had seen no evidence so far the election results had been manipulated in Trump’s favor.
“The campaign is grateful to all those who have expended time and effort to investigate various claims of abnormalities and irregularities,” Elias said.
“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.”
Stein has cited unspecified “anomalies” as grounds to mount a challenge to the November 8 election results in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable,” Stein said on her website.
“These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified,” she said. “We deserve elections we can trust.”