Stein seeks vote re­count in US Rust Belt

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


For­mer Green Party pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Jill Stein on Thurs­day launched a bid to seek a vote re­count in Wis­con­sin, the first of three Rust Belt states won by Don­ald Trump where she in­tends to chal­lenge the re­sult. Stein’s cam­paign an­nounced Thurs­day that it had raised the $1.1 mil­lion nec­es­sary to fund a re­count in Wis­con­sin and was on track to do the same in Penn­syl­va­nia and Michi­gan, hav­ing raised $2.7 mil­lion of a $4.5 mil­lion goal. Her cam­paign has cited un­spec­i­fied “anom­alies” as grounds to mount a chal­lenge in all three states.

The move comes amid stepped-up calls from some of Trump’s left-wing op­po­nents to chal­lenge the re­sults of the Novem­ber 8 elec­tion, which was marked by warn­ings of for­eign hack­ing and vote rig­ging. “The un­ex­pected re­sults of the elec­tion and re­ported anom­alies need to be in­ves­ti­gated be­fore the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion is cer­ti­fied,” Stein said on her web­site. “We de­serve elections we can trust.”

Although there is vir­tu­ally no chance of over­turn­ing the re­sult, the de­mands could reignite de­bate over the le­git­i­macy of Trump’s elec­tion, al­ready fu­elled by Democrat Hil­lary Clin­ton’s lead in the pop­u­lar vote which now stands at two mil­lion. “Rais­ing money to pay for the first round so quickly is a mirac­u­lous feat and a trib­ute to the power of grassroots or­ga­niz­ing,” Stein’s web­site read. The Mid­west­ern state of Wis­con­sin was a key bat­tle­ground in the Nov 8 elec­tion, help­ing pro­pel the Repub­li­can Trump to a vic­tory that stunned the nation.

Trump also won swing state Penn­syl­va­nia, and claimed a ra­zor-thin vic­tory in Michi­gan ac­cord­ing to unofficial re­sults re­leased Wed­nes­day. Although she lost in the in­di­rect elec­toral col­lege tally which de­cides who wins the White House, Clin­ton’s lead in the pop­u­lar vote has risen as of­fi­cial re­sults are fi­nal­ized, nar­row­ing the re­sult in some swing states where she lost. Clin­ton con­ceded on Nov 9 and her cam­paign is not sup­port­ing the re­count calls.

‘Elec­tion In­tegrity Move­ment’

Stein’s de­mands fol­low a bit­ter pres­i­den­tial cam­paign that in­cluded per­sis­tent charges of Rus­sian hack­ing and fraud. Trump also warned dur­ing his cam­paign that the elec­tion would be “rigged,” and re­fused to say whether he would ac­cept the re­sults. Any re­sult change would not help Stein, who won just over 1.1 per­cent of Wis­con­sin’s vote. But she launched the re­count ef­fort af­ter com­puter sci­en­tists re­port­edly told the Clin­ton cam­paign the elec­tion may have been rigged in Trump’s fa­vor.

The sci­en­tists, in­clud­ing Univer­sity of Michi­gan’s J Alex Hal­der­man, to­gether with vot­ing rights activist John Boni­faz and oth­ers, said Clin­ton’s votes were 7 per­cent below ex­pec­ta­tions in coun­ties that tal­lied votes with elec­tronic ma­chines. “These re­counts are part of an elec­tion in­tegrity move­ment to at­tempt to shine a light on just how un­trust­wor­thy the US elec­tion sys­tem is,” Stein’s web­site said, adding that the at­tempt is “not in­tended to help Hil­lary Clin­ton.” Clin­ton lost by a ra­zor-thin mar­gin of around 27,000 votes in Wis­con­sin and 60,000 votes in Penn­syl­va­nia. Unofficial re­sults re­leased by Michi­gan’s sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice, put Trump ahead by a mere 10,704 votes. “I think it’s only nat­u­ral and good for Amer­i­cans to be re­as­sured that our votes are counted,” Stein told CNN Thurs­day, “es­pe­cially af­ter such a di­vi­sive and bit­ter elec­tion where 80 per­cent of Amer­i­cans... ba­si­cally said they were dis­gusted with this elec­tion.”

‘Demographics, Not Hack­ing’

But one of the sci­en­tists she cites, Hal­der­man, Wed­nes­day sought to dampen mount­ing spec­u­la­tion that re­counts would change the elec­tion’s re­sult. “Were this year’s de­vi­a­tions from pre-elec­tion polls the re­sults of a cy­ber­at­tack?” he wrote on Medium. “Prob­a­bly not.” Rather, the polling was more likely “sys­tem­at­i­cally wrong”. The only way to re­move any lin­ger­ing con­tro­versy, how­ever, would be to study “pa­per bal­lots and vot­ing equip­ment in crit­i­cal states”, he added. — AFP

Jill Stein

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