Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has raised almost $5 million toward a recount of 2016 presidential election votes in three key swing states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Here’s a breakdown of what that means.

First, to answer the three most important questions:

  1. Yes, Jill Stein and her backers in this endeavor can request recounts in the three states in question. Each state has a hefty filing fee and a deadline, and it looks like Stein will have no trouble meeting those. The Clinton and Trump camps have so far been silent as to their support or opposition for a recount.
  2. Yes, Hillary Clinton would be considered winner of the 2016 election, and therefore President-elect, if the electoral votes from all three states in question were taken from Trump and awarded to her. However…
  3. No, there has been no convincing evidence of tampering or hacking found as of the time of this writing. Much of our voting system is outdated and vulnerable, and there are some statistical anomalies such as Clinton performing worse in precincts where votes were tabulated electronically, but FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver and many others are saying the more likely explanation is simply that pre-election polls were wrong.

In a nutshell, Jill Stein will probably get the recount she is fundraising for, but the outcome of the election probably will not change. Despite the slim chance of the election results being overturned, many political commentators believe (and Civitas agrees) that a recount is still a good idea. A recount would help alleviate doubts on the pro-Clinton side and would generally boost confidence in the election results. Perhaps more importantly, a recount would hopefully encourage examination and updating of obsolete voting systems that are prone to error and manipulation. For these reasons, Donald Trump should encourage the recount to happen.

To contribute to the recount effort, go here. For a more in-depth analysis of the mechanics of the recount and the reasons it should happen, check out this very thorough article from Jenny Anderson at Quartz, or this one by Vox’s Timothy B. Lee.

Civitas will update this article if anything significant changes regarding the recount.

 

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