HARRISBURG, Pa. (UPI) — Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein officially filed for an election recount in Pennsylvania on Monday, but she needs to do a lot more to actually get elections officials to start reviewing votes — and she doesn’t have much time to do it.
Stein filed a request with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation on Monday, meeting the deadline for a recount. Last week, her campaign successfully filed for similar efforts in Wisconsin, and this week she will file for a recount in Michigan, where the deadline is Wednesday.
Stein is asking for the recount in those three states to ensure election integrity, amid theories that voting machines could have been tampered with. Donald Trump won all three states over Hillary Clinton by slim margins, and a reversal of the results would give Clinton enough electoral votes to win the presidency.
But Stein’s fight in the Keystone State will be a very difficult one.
In order to actually trigger a recount statewide, which is the goal, Stein needs to find nearly 30,000 individual voters and have them submit an affidavit requesting the recount — that’s three voters for all 9,163 precincts in the state. If she does find 27,000-plus voters to do that, they must file their affidavits by the end of business Monday.
“We need volunteers to observe #Recount2016 and voters to fill out affidavits to initiate the Pennsylvania recount,” Stein tweeted on Monday afternoon.
If those requirements are not satisfied, there will be no recount in Pennsylvania — at least not without a lawsuit.
“We are going to jump through some hoops,” Stein said in a video Monday, which asked Pennsylvania voters to help with the recount effort. “This current system, that needs to be democracized, makes it very difficult for us to vote and for us to have confidence in our votes because of these very hack-friendly electronic machines that we use.”
“In Pennsylvania, it’s especially complicated,” she continued. “Pennsylvania is the only state in which the recount process has to be initiated by, actually, thousands of voters.”
A lawsuit would be the only recourse if the recount requirements aren’t met. And any such suit would need to present evidence of voting irregularities to be successful.
Stein campaign attorney Lawrence Otter said he intended to file a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court on Monday asking for a statewide recount, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Even if Stein accomplishes a recount, some observers say it’s unlikely Clinton can overcome Trump’s lead of more than 70,000 votes. Reports have put Clinton behind by about 23,000 in Wisconsin and fewer than 10,000 in Michigan.
Clinton’s campaign, which has so far not ordered a recount, said it agrees with Stein’s efforts in principle, but has not called for recounts because no evidence has been uncovered of potential voting fraud. Some of Clinton’s campaign members, though, have joined the recount effort in Wisconsin.
Some computer scientists have claimed it’s possible for malware to have been uploaded to the voting machines before Nov. 8. However, those experts have maintained that no evidence of such tampering has yet been produced.
Also complicating the issue is the fact that Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that largely tabulates votes 100 percent electronically, with no paper backups for audit purposes.
“The nightmare scenario would be if Pennsylvania decides the election and it is very close. You would have no paper records to do a recount,” voting expert Lawrence Norden told the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 20.
“Pennsylvania is using technology from the ’80s made by the companies that don’t exist anymore. In computer years, that’s a very long time ago,” Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, said.
However, the very fact that the voting machines are so old may be the factor that renders the entire motivation for a recount moot.
“They can’t be hacked,” Gerald Feaser, Jr., elections director for Dauphin County, told the Times, noting that the 30-year-old machines have never been connected to the Internet.
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