Jill Stein is on track to raise twice as much for an election recount effort than she did for her own failed Green Party presidential bid. Fuelled by the social media hashtag #recount2016 and millions of dispirited Hillary Clinton voters, Stein’s recount drive had already netted $6.3 million by yesterday, according to her campaign website. That’s close to the $ 7 million she posted as a goal and millions more than the roughly $3.5 million she raised during her entire presidential bid.
Citing without evidence concerns about “cyber hacking,” Stein wants a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — places that Clinton, a Democrat, thought were safely in her column.
Instead, Republican Donald Trump won all three and with them the electoral votes needed to win the White House.
Stein won no states and wouldn’t directly or immediately benefit from a recount — nor would she likely be able to topple Trump. Even Clinton’s attorney Marc Elias wrote there’s “no actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology.”
But Stein’s effort could help her in other ways. By continuing to raise money, she is building up a larger donor list that she can later turn to if she runs again. She also can try to influence policy by urging those donors to call lawmakers or contribute to other politicians.
Her campaign says 137,000 people have contributed to the recount. A bigger supporter list can command bigger fees if Stein chooses to lease it out to other campaigns.
Laurence Tribe, a Harvard constitutional law professor, said that although recounts are “entirely within the law,” Stein’s effort is probably aimed more at “trying to gain attention and establish herself as a national player.”
Stein said she is “proud to stand up for election integrity” regardless of whether it changes the outcome of the presidential race. If she raises more money than is needed for the recount itself — including multimillion-dollar attorney fees — her campaign will use the surplus for “election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.”