WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Wisconsin’s election commission said on Friday it had received petitions for a recount of votes in the presidential election from the Green Party campaign and another candidate and was planning to start the process.
“The Commission is preparing to move forward with a statewide recount of votes for President of the United States, as requested by these candidates,” Commission Administrator Michael Haas said in a statement on the agency’s website.
The move follows comments by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein earlier on Friday that her push for election recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania was aimed at assessing the integrity of the U.S. voting system, not at undermining Republican Donald Trump’s White House victory.
While Stein’s effort this week may have spurred hope among disappointed supporters of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the chances of such recounts – if they take place – overturning the overall result from the Nov. 8 election are extremely slim, given Trump’s margins of victory in the three states.
Since launching the recount campaign on Wednesday, Stein has raised more than $5 million. The Green Party said it wants to raise $7 million for the recounts, including the cost of legal fees.
The Green Party has said that despite the millions it has raised to fund the recounts, it could not guarantee any would occur and that if its requests were denied or there were surplus funds, it would use the money to push for voting system reforms.
Stein, who won just 1 percent of the national vote herself, told CNN that while there was no evidence of tampering or other voting errors in the election, only a full review in those states would give Americans confidence in the results.
“This was a hack-riddled election,” she said, pointing to hacking before the vote of political organizations and individual email accounts, as well as recent media reports citing concerns by computer security experts.
The deadline to request the Wisconsin recount was Friday afternoon, while for Pennsylvania the deadline is Monday and for Michigan Wednesday.
Wisconsin’s Haas said that with a federal deadline of Dec. 13 to complete the recounts, county boards of canvassers might have to work evenings and weekends.
The other petitioner for a recount in the state was third-party candidate Rocky Roque De La Fuente, the commission statement said.
Although Trump won narrowly in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the margins make it highly unlikely that any recounts would end up giving Clinton a win in all three states, which would be needed for the overall presidential election result to change. Trump beat Clinton in Pennsylvania by 70,010 votes, in Michigan by 10,704 votes and in Wisconsin by 27,257 votes.
The presidential race is decided by the Electoral College, or a tally of wins from the state-by-state contests, rather than by the popular national vote. The Electoral College results are expected to be finalized when electors meet on Dec. 19.
Trump surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to win, although once the final tallies of votes are in, Clinton will have won the national popular vote by more than 2 million votes.
Asked if she was trying to upset Trump, Stein told CNN “Absolutely not,” adding that she also did not back Clinton.
A representative for Trump’s transition team on Thursday had no comment on Stein’s effort. In a Twitter post on Thursday, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway cited a New York Times article and mocked Clinton supporters who “can’t accept the election results.”
Clinton has not commented on Stein’s effort, and a representative for her did not reply to a request for comment.
(Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus, Brendan O’Brien and Frank McGurty in New York and Eric Walsh in Washington; Editing by Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)
IMAGE: Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein speaks at a campaign rally in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young