The Way Out Of Trumpland: Electoral College And Clinton Watch Vote Recounts

Stein initially asked for $2.5 million to be donated for the filing fees for three voting recounts.
11/26/2016 02:49 pm ET Updated Nov 28, 2016

Jill Stein is trying to clean up some of the mess she helped create on November 8 by now seeking presidential election recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

And on Saturday, Hillary Clinton, through Clinton campaign counsel Mark Elias, said the Clinton campaign has been monitoring the vote counts carefully, and will take part in the recount effort, but noted that the campaign’s own investigation has not uncovered any “actionable evidence” of vote tampering or hacking.

It’s relevant to note, given Stein’s initiative here, that in the case of Wisconsin, if Stein’s 30,000 votes had been cast for Hillary Clinton ― or even 28,000 of them ― Hillary Clinton would have won Wisconsin. Same in Michigan where Stein received 50,000 votes and Trump’s margin of victory over Clinton was roughly 11,000 votes.

Stein has responded by calling for the recounts, and has raised more than $5.8 million in the past three days through an online crowdfunding campaign, which is now seeking a total of $7 million, with the funding goal continuing to climb daily.

As reported Thursday, Stein initially asked for $2.5 million to be donated for the filing fees for three voting recounts (Wisconsin: $1.1 million needed by Friday, Nov 25; Pennsylvania: $.5 million by Nov 28; and Michigan: $.6 million by Nov 30). Those funds were raised by online donations within 24 hours, on Thanksgiving Day.

The total being sought then crept to $4.5 million for the cost of the three state recounts and what Stein on the donations webpage said were the additional costs of legal fees.

Now, 72 hours later, the goal has risen again to $7 million, which Stein says on the donations webpage will pay for only two recounts (Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) and that more funds will need to be raised to request a recount in Michigan.

Efforts to reach Stein for comment by phone at her home reached a voicemail not taking messages, and there was no response to an email sent to her campaign for comment.

Photo graphic by Mark Hersch for the Huffington Post.

Meanwhile Stein's recount efforts are being watched carefully by a growing number of Electoral College electors who are seeking to find enough votes to elect someone they are describing as a “responsible,” moderate Republican when they deliberate and vote for president in a little over three weeks on December 19.

P. Bret Chiafalo, a Democratic elector from Washington state, said he’s watching the recounts for any possible evidence of tampering, particularly by a foreign power.

One of the things the Founding Fathers were very concerned about preventing was the possible interference of foreign powers and interests [in a presidential election],” Chiafalo said in a phone interview. “That’s one of the key responsibilities we have as [Electoral College] electors.”

Chiafalo referred to Alexander Hamilton’s The Federalist Papers No. 68, in which Hamilton wrote that a key role of the Electoral College was to serve as a firewall to prevent “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils . . . by raising a creature of their own [to the presidency]” — or in modern terms, to prevent the election of a president who has been compromised by or is under the influence of a foreign government.

They were concerned that the American people not elect a president who was a foreign government’s puppet,” Chiafalo underscored.

Another Electoral College elector seeking an alternative to Donald Trump is Micheal Baca, a Democratic elector from Colorado, who says the current three state recount, and the possibility of more states being awarded to Clinton, could make their efforts easier.

If the recount gives Clinton all three states, then she would be president,” said Baca in a phone interview. “But, a Clinton victory in even just one or two of the three states [being recounted] could narrow Trump's Electoral College margin to just a few Electoral College votes . . . The math can only help.”

Chiafalo agreed, noting that Clinton winning more states would only “make our job easier [by] increasing the chance that we'll get the needed number of electors who will say ‘I don't think Trump is qualified to be president, and I am going to support an alternative, responsible candidate.’”  

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