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Green Party Officially Files For Recount In Wisconsin

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

U.S. Recount Effort Aimed At Testing Election Integrity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said on Friday her effort to request recounts of the election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania was aimed at assessing the integrity of the U.S. voting system, not at undermining 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.

Stein, who won just one 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 hacks before the vote of political organizations and individual email accounts, as well as recent media reports citing concerns by computer security experts.

The deadlines to request recounts are Friday for Wisconsin, Monday for Pennsylvania and Wednesday for Michigan. Stein has raised more than $4.9 million since launching the recount campaign on Wednesday. The Green Party said it wants to raise $7 million for recounts, including the cost of legal fees.

Although Trump won narrowly in the three states, 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 result to change. The Republican 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 the president-elect’s transition team on Thursday had no comment when asked about Stein’s effort.

But senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested on Twitter that the push for recounts was ironic, given criticism of Trump before the election when he would not say whether he would accept the result of what he called a “rigged” political system.

Clinton has not commented publicly on Stein’s effort. Representatives for Clinton could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien and Frank McGurty in New York; Editing by Tim Ahmann, Caren Bohan and Frances Kerry)

Ryan Says Republicans Should Follow Their ‘Conscience’ On Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican lawmakers should follow their conscience on whether to support Donald Trump in November’s presidential election, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said in an interview, reflecting the party’s unease over its White House candidate.

“The last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that’s contrary to their conscience. Of course I wouldn’t do that,” the Republicans’ most senior elected official said in excerpts released on Friday of an NBC interview set to air on Sunday.

Some Republican leaders and lawmakers in the House of Representatives are struggling to get behind the New York businessman, who last month became the party’s presumptive nominee for the Nov. 8 election.

After an initial delay, Ryan has said he will back Trump but he has also acknowledged deep differences with him. He denounced as textbook racism Trump’s criticism of a Mexican-American judge and has also criticized Trump’s proposal – reiterated after the massacre of 49 people in a gay bar in Orlando on Sunday – to temporarily bar Muslims from the United States.

As Republicans seek to keep control of both chambers of Congress, Trump’s comments on such issues have also worried some lawmakers concerned about their own election prospects, particularly in close races. All 247 House Republican seats are up for grabs in the election.

Trump, who has welcomed support from Ryan, this week fired back at Republican leaders, telling them to stop speaking out against him or else risk him potentially running “by myself.”

Ryan said earlier this week at his weekly press conference that he does not plan to withdraw his support of Trump, although they disagree on some key issues.

“I feel as a responsibility institutionally as the speaker of the House that I should not be leading some chasm in the middle of our party. Because you know what I know that’ll do? That’ll definitely knock us out of the White House,” Ryan said in the interview for NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.

Trump’s embrace this week of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and potential gun control measures, in contrast to general Republican orthodoxy have also thrown conservative lawmakers.

Still, Republican leaders have to reconcile their unease with the fact that primary Republican voters opted for Trump. He has never held elected office before but won more than enough delegates to secure the party’s nomination at the Republican convention in July.

 

(Writing by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Meg Garner; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Photo: U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) waits to meet India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (not pictured), before Modi speaks at a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber in Capitol Hill, Washington, U.S., June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria