Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein announced last week that she will be raising money to file for a recount in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan – three states that were crucial to Donald Trump’s upset victory on Election Day.
As of today, the party has met its financial goals in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – and have until November 30 to file for Michigan.
“We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system. We need to verify the vote in this and every election so that Americans of all parties can be sure we have a fair, secure and accurate voting system,” Stein said in a statement.
The Hillary Clinton campaign said it will also join efforts with Stein in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan – if they get the funding.
With the recount already under way in Wisconsin, here’s what you need to know:
Will a presidential election recount change the outcome of the election?
Almost certainly no. With Michigan officially certifying Donald Trump’s win as late as Monday morning, his electoral lead over Hillary Clinton is essentially insurmountable – even with Clinton’s national popular vote total surpassing 2 million.
Not to mention, as even Trump noted on Twitter, Clinton herself has formally conceded the presidential race. Her campaign will be involved in the recount (as long as Stein and the Green Party can raise the funds) but has been adamant that they are only participating in the process to ensure there wasn’t any significant irregularities in the voting process (specifically with electronic voting).
What is the deadline to file if you want a state to recount votes?
Each state has a different deadline. In Wisconsin, a campaign would need to file by November 25, 2016; Pennsylvania set a deadline for November 28, 2016; and Michigan is on November 30, 2016.
How much are the filing fees for an election recount?
Similar to the deadlines, the filing fees are different for each state. Wisconsin asks for $1.1 million, Pennsylvania requires $500,000 and Michigan is $600,000.
What happens if the requests are all granted in three states and tallies differ from the results on election night?
If the tallies of the recount differ from the results on election night, the state must go with the tallies from the recount. If discrepancies are shown, it will open the door to further investigation. There will also be a forensic examination of machines. The investigation would likely lead to litigation.
What is the process of the recount?
All the candidates are offered an opportunity to observe the recount. If they see anything they don’t agree with, a stray mark that wasn’t intended to be a vote, for example, they can litigate that.
The Wisconsin recount starts as early as this week. It is a localized process; recounts take place in local jurisdictions and local officials have different standards from each other.
When does the recount need to be completed by?
The Electoral College votes on December 13, 2016. If the recount is not completed by then, the case may be taken to the Supreme Court.
What happens if the Supreme Court ruling on the recount ends up in a tie?
If there is a tie vote at the Supreme Court, the case will be handed to the bfederal appeals court handling the case.
However, this can get tricky because the recounts will happen in different states. It is possible that a federal appeals court with jurisdiction in Wisconsin will allow a recount to continue, while a federal appeals court with jurisdiction in Pennsylvania denies it.
When was the last time a recount was called for in a presidential election?
The last recount in a presidential election was in Ohio in 2004 – which was also initiated by the Green Party.
The New York Times noted at the time that the statewide recount of Ohio’s 88 counties resulted in a net difference of 285 votes, meaning that George W. Bush beat John Kerry in Ohio by 118,457 votes, instead of 118,775. The recount concluded on Dec. 28, 2004, nearly two months after the election took place.