In what may henceforth be known as one of the most egregious and public of ironies, Donald Trump’s repeated pre-Election Day charges that the election process was “rigged” in Hillary Clinton‘s favor may come back to haunt him. An investigation and recount could potentially show that the election was absolutely rigged, manipulated and changed — in Trump’s favor.
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, Green Party candidate Jill Stein announced that she would seek a recount for the states Clinton narrowly lost. The amount needed — $2.5 million — was almost reached in the first hour of Stein’s announcement. Early Thursday morning Nov. 24, Stein announced that her campaign had raised enough to file for the recount. In the short time between between when Stein began her #RECOUNT2016 initiative and Friday, Nov. 25, she quickly raised far more than the necessary funds. As of early Friday afternoon, the funds raised had exceeded more than $5 million toward the updated goal of $7 million, according to a tracker on her campaign website.
“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. These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust,” Stein said in a statement.
Within the past week, multiple respected and well-known computer scientists, as well as election attorneys, have expressed urgency over the election results, saying that Hillary Clinton’s campaign should challenge the election results in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the three swing states that Donald Trump narrowly won, causing him to win the election.
According to New York magazine, the aforementioned group encouraging the recount, among them voting rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they have found significant evidence that the results in those three states could have been “manipulated or hacked.”
The issue at hand regarding the votes is the discrepancy of Clinton’s vote count in precincts that used electronic machines — which was down 7 percent — when compared to the precincts that relied on paper ballots. Though this in and of itself does not prove fraud, the group said there is enough evidence for an independent review, investigation and recount, especially given the fact that the Obama administration has recently accused the Russian government of hacking Democratic National Committee computers.
Last week, the cybersecurity experts reportedly had a call with important officials of the Clinton campaign to present their findings. However, there is only a narrow time frame in which to challenge the results: the deadline to file for a recount in Wisconsin is today, Friday, Nov. 25. In Pennsylvania, the deadline is Monday, Nov. 28, and the Michigan deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 30.
The New York Daily News reported that, currently, the votes tallied have Trump ahead of Clinton by 58 Electoral College votes. This count does not include Michigan, which gets 16 votes, because the state is still too close to call.
If Stein’s challenge to the voting results is successful in Michigan and Wisconsin, Clinton’s total electoral votes would grow to 258. Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes. Thus, if it is also successfully challenged, Clinton would have more than the 270 votes required to win the presidential nomination.
The Clinton campaign has not commented on any of Stein’s actions nor on the words and findings of the lawyers and computer scientists. Trump has previously said he feels the election is rigged, and in years prior, expressed distaste for the Electoral College’s methods. He has since changed his opinion now that it has worked in his favor.