Stein’s False Promise of ‘Free’ Recounts

Futile effort to force recounts in states won by Trump comes with sizable taxpayer price tag

While Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s campaign is covering what’s required for the recounts she is forcing in states that tipped the scales in favor of President-Elect Trump — taxpayers will carry a hefty sum, at least in Michigan.

The estimated cost will be $5 million, said Fred Woodhams, spokesman for Michigan’s Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. Stein has paid $787,500.

“Michigan voters rejected Stein’s candidacy by massive margins but her refusal to accept that state-verified result poses an expensive and risky threat to hard-working taxpayers and abuses the intent of Michigan law.”

“More than $4 million of that will be borne by Michigan taxpayers in counties across the state,” Woodhams told LifeZette. “She has already paid the maximum amount she is required to pay by state law.”

In Wisconsin, where Stein’s campaign must pay the entire $3.5 million cost, Stein complained in a statement, “It is another sign of democracy in crisis that ordinary citizens must pay so steep a price in order to assure the validity of our votes.” And she has taken her demand for a Pennsylvania recount to federal court.

“PA voters are worried about the accuracy, security, and fairness of an election tainted by suspicion,” Stein tweeted Sunday. “That’s why a $1M bond is outrageous.”

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Her campaign is challenging the state court-ordered $1 million bond to proceed with a recount.

Well, recounts aren’t free — they take manpower and resources. If Stein doesn’t pay for it, then it’s the “ordinary people” of those states, better known as taxpayers, who will foot the bill for this exercise of futility.

Costs aside, the Michigan recount isn’t legal, according to state Attorney General Bill Schuette. That’s because the person petitioning for a recount has to in some way be “aggrieved” under Michigan law. Stein wasn’t “aggrieved” because she got only 1 percent of the vote in the state.

“Michigan voters rejected Stein’s candidacy by massive margins but her refusal to accept that state-verified result poses an expensive and risky threat to hardworking taxpayers and abuses the intent of Michigan law,” Schuette said in a statement.  “We have asked the court to end the recount which Stein is pursuing in violation of Michigan laws that protect the integrity of our elections. It is inexcusable for Stein to put Michigan voters at risk of paying millions and potentially losing their voice in the Electoral College in the process.”

At any rate, Stein’s fundraising for the project is going well, with a new fundraising goal of $9.5 million — a fourth goal set after surpassing the last three. Considering she raised just $3.5 million for her entire presidential campaign, it’s not too much of a stretch to believe Clinton donors are at least partially bankrolling the effort. Still, Stein asserts that 140,000 people have donated an average of $46.

Having Stein as a front keeps Hillary Clinton largely out of the spotlight on the matter, other than her campaign attorney Marc Elias, who said, “Regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself.”

In Pennsylvania, Wanda Murrin, spokeswoman for the Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes, a Democrat, told LifeZette, “Anyone pursuing a recount in any precinct has to pay for it.”

Stein missed the Nov. 21 deadline for a statewide recount, but after losing in state court, she wants a federal court to order the recount.

Trump won the Electoral College 306-232. Clinton would need to flip all three states to put her at 278 in order to actually win. Even Elias said, “We do so fully aware that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount.”

Stein, in a USA Today op-ed, explains that isn’t the point. (Naturally, perhaps, since third parties typically fight battles with no intention of actually winning.)

“Our goal is not to change the result of the election,” Stein wrote. “It is to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the vote. All Americans, regardless of party, deserve to know that this and every election is fair and that the vote is verified.”

So, if that’s the case, why stop at the blue wall that came crashing down? Why not demand recounts in New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Nevada? These three Clinton states were very close as well.

We all know why. Whether the financial resources backing this effort is really coming from grassroots Green Party cheerleaders or bitter Hillary Clinton donors, the revenue would dry up if she wanted to recount blue states.

Stein was in a shouting match with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” claiming the public was behind her. This has been a profound media boon for Stein. The Media Research Center found Stein got 12 times more network evening news coverage after demanding the recounts than as a honest-to-goodness presidential candidate. Candidate Stein was on the evening network newscasts for a mere 36 seconds throughout the entirety of her campaign. The weekend that she launched the recount crusade, her air time went up to 6 minutes and 26 seconds, according to the MRC study.

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The Left insisted that the existence of voter fraud was a myth before Nov. 8. So it is remarkable how Stein, and apparently those funding this gambit, have stumbled onto a crisis in election integrity.

In 2000 it was only one statewide recount, Florida. This year it’s at least two and possibly three. That of course doesn’t make it a bigger deal, since 2000 offered suspense. There is no question Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

So what’s the endgame?

It’s a long shot, but this could tie the matter up long enough to delay certification by the three states before the Electoral College votes on Dec. 19. If neither candidate has the certified 270 electoral votes, the election would go to the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives … that would likely vote for Trump.

In Florida in 2000, the state legislature considered appointing electors. If that happened in this case, Trump would still win since all three states have Republican legislatures.

So why would Stein and Clinton bother? It could just be scorched earth politics to delegitimize Trump. And sowing more division in America might be yet another cost of the recounts.

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