As of press time, Jill Stein has raised almost $5 million from sad Clinton supporters who actually think her recount plan is a thing. Stein has set her goal now at $7 million. So the obvious question is can money buy a recount? The answer is maybe. The more important question is would it make a difference.
In 2004, the Green Party demanded a recount in Ohio which resulted in Kerry picking up another 300 votes. Nothing changed. Stein is looking for recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Trump won by 36 Electoral College votes, so all three states would have to flip.
Flipping the election to Hillary would require a change of about 27,000 votes in Wisconsin. To give you some perspective, Stein’s total vote count in Wisconsin was only 30,000. Michigan would have to flip 10,000 votes; and the prize, Pennsylvania, would have to go 68,000 votes in the other direction for Hillary to win. Jill Stein could give Hillary her 48,000 votes in Pennsylvania and it wouldn’t make a difference.
Stick a fork in it, the 2016 Presidential election is done.
Stein’s claims of election hacking stem from a New York Magazine article suggesting that electronic voting could have been hacked. But the experts cited in that article clarified later that there was no actual evidence that it had been hacked. If we are looking for a hack, it might be better to look at Jill Stein herself who seems very concerned about helping Hillary Clinton win. In particular, let’s look at where the money goes when this recount silliness never happens.
According to the Washington Post, which acknowledges that a recount will produce no changes, much of the funds could go toward recount efforts. However, the $7 million goal and $5 million raised so far exceeds the original cost estimate of $2.1 million. So that’s a lot of extra dough. In 2004, the Green Party only raised $150,000 to do the Ohio recount.
Stein’s website states that they “cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting.” The “surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.” That broad category could make the funds available for other Green Party recognition efforts. In the name of promoting voting system reform, the Green Party could run ads, print billboards, and engage in other marketing efforts all branded with their party name. That could give them a pretty good jump on 2020.
Just to add one last bit of perspective: Jill Stein’s recount effort has already eclipsed the total of $3.5 million she raised for her 2016 campaign.