By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Monday, November 28, 2016
Michigan elections officials certified Monday that Donald Trump did win the state on Nov. 8, giving him a projected 306-232 win in the Electoral College — but his opponents are still trying to wrench the victory away from him, raising millions of dollars to force recounts in enough states to swipe the race.
Wisconsin began its recount Monday, prodded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, though the state’s election commission insisted they got it right and Mr. Trump will remain the winner.
Ms. Stein also said she’ll demand a recount in Michigan, and filed a lawsuit begging a judge to order an audit in Pennsylvania.
“After a presidential election tarnished by the use of outdated and unreliable machines and accusations of irregularities and hacks, people of all political persuasions are asking if our election results are reliable,” Ms. Stein said in a statement. “We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system.”
She hasn’t pointed to specific evidence of fraud in the three states, instead basing her demands on pre-election fears of hacking and a disparity between opinion polls and the final results.
Trump supporters were peeved, saying the recounts are an unseemly attempt to damage Mr. Trump as he prepares to claim the White House.
If Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan results were all overturned, Mrs. Clinton would win the White House — though officials in each state doubted that was going to happen.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Mr. Trump’s 22,000-vote victory in his state — about 1 percent of the votes cast — was enough to withstand any recount.
“WI’s electoral process is fair & protected,” the governor said in a Twitter post. “Are #Recount2016 supporters really that surprised how rural Wisconsin voted?”
And Mark Thomsen, chairman of Wisconsin’s elections commission and a Democrat, batted away accusations of fraud or hacking, and said the recount there will confirm Mr. Trump won.
“I don’t expect that the outcome will be quantitatively different,” he said as he and his fellow board members announced recount procedures. They said localities can decide how to conduct their recounts — a victory for Mr. Trump, since it means a full hand recount isn’t required.
In Michigan the results had been contested since election night, when Mr. Trump held a slim lead. The state’s canvassing board on Monday said he did, in fact, win by 10,704 votes out of 4.8 million cast in the presidential race.
Now Ms. Stein and other Trump opponents have two days to file for a recount.
In Pennsylvania Ms. Stein filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf of voters who disbelieve Mr. Trump won their state. The lawsuit’s evidence is circumstantial: Some computer scientists fear that hacking is possible, combined with the disparity between pre-election polling and the actual Election Day results.
Their lawsuit demands a full recount, saying that’s the first step to figuring out if hacking occurred. Ms. Stein was also looking into whether she could demand recounts at the county level.
“The nature of hacking is that you don’t see it if you don’t look,” she said on MSNBC.
Pennsylvania Republicans mocked her lawsuit, calling it “a sad commentary on the failure of some to accept the results of the will of the people.”
Ms. Stein has raised more than $6 million to finance recount efforts. The Clinton campaign has said it is backing her, but Ms. Stein said she doubts they’ll take an active role.
She insisted she’s not trying to boost Mrs. Clinton — and indeed said she’d called for a recount in Michigan even before Mr. Trump was certified the winner Monday. She said she would have pursued a recount even if Mrs. Clinton had come out on top.
“We are not here with a partisan ax to grind,” she said.
Mr. Trump has dismissed Ms. Stein’s recount bid as a “scam” to raise money, and said the press was ignoring “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California.”
Taking to Twitter this weekend, he also said he could have topped Mrs. Clinton in the popular vote but for “the millions of people who voted illegally.” He’s trailing Mrs. Clinton by about 2 million votes in the current tally of the popular vote.
He offered no evidence of that level of fraud, and several newspapers and television networks dubbed his claims erroneous. Liberal groups claimed a bigger problem was potential voters being discouraged from showing up because they lacked identification.
Conservative watchdog groups countered that noncitizens do manage to vote.
Aside from innuendo and pre-election fears, the chief impetus for claims of potential hacking comes from J. Alex Halderman, a computer scientist at the University of Michigan who reportedly urged the Clinton campaign to contest the results earlier this month.
In a sworn affidavit filed in court in Pennsylvania on Monday, Mr. Halderman said American voting machines are vulnerable to cyberattack, and said such an attack was “plausible” this year. But he has also said in an internet post last week that a hack was not probable.