- The Washington Times - Friday, November 25, 2016

Complaints about election fraud almost inevitably hail from the right, but Republican Donald Trump’s unexpected presidential win has left-wingers raising millions for recounts in key swing states to make sure the race wasn’t hacked.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein plans to file Friday for a recount in Wisconsin after collecting the necessary $1.1 million fee, the first step in a three-state recount challenge that has raised more than $5 million since Wednesday.

After blowing past the original goal of $2.5 million in less than 24 hours, the party has upped the ante to $7 million in order to cover the costs of recounts in two other battleground states, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

“These recounts are part of an election integrity movement to attempt to shine a light on just how untrustworthy the U.S. election system is,” said the Green Party in a Wednesday statement.

The Greens insist that their aim is not to flip enough votes to throw the election to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but rather to start an “election integrity movement.”

“Election integrity experts have independently identified Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as states where ‘statistical anomalies’ raised concerns,” said the party, adding, “Our effort to recount votes in those states is not intended to help Hillary Clinton.”

The recount fee in Pennsylvania is $500,000 and $600,000 in Michigan. Ms. Stein said the surplus would be used for attorney’s fees as well as “election integrity efforts” and “to promote voting system reform.”

The Green Party, which has been joined by left-wing groups such as MoveOn.org and Democracy for America, raised concerns about cybersecurity in the wake of election-year hacks against the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.

Only a presidential candidate can request a recount in Michigan and Wisconsin, and the Clinton campaign has shown no interest in doing so, said Eden James, Democracy for America political director, in a fundraising plea.

Mrs. Clinton lost all three states to Mr. Trump, but his margin of victory was slim: 1 percent in Wisconsin, 1.2 percent in Pennsylvania, and 0.3 percent in Michigan.

Ms. Stein was on the ballot in each of the states, taking 1.1 percent in Wisconsin and Michigan and 0.8 percent in Pennsylvania.

“So the Stein campaign’s effort is the only way to set all three recounts in motion,” said Ms. James. “Triggering this process may also help pressure states to ensure they prioritize vote tally processes that can’t be hacked and can easily be verified in cases of close races.”

Conservatives have fought for years to make the election system more secure, while Democrats have long countered that no evidence of widespread voter fraud exists and that such concerns stem from a GOP plot to suppress the vote.

The Democracy for America plea could have been lifted from GOP boilerplate with statements such as, “Seventy-five percent of the electorate votes on paper ballots which are then scanned into a machine, but we never double-check to look at those ballots and make sure the machine counts are accurate.”

The window for recounts is closing fast: The deadline to file for a recount is Friday in Wisconsin, Monday in Pennsylvania and Wednesday in Michigan.

The recount plan has gained steam with Clinton fans such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who cited the importance of restoring public confidence in the election results.

“Without an investigation, the suspicion of a hacked election will never go away,” Mr. Krugman said on Twitter.

Those in favor point to an article by J. Alex Halderman, director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Computer Security & Society, who said the election probably wasn’t hacked but that Americans will never know without checking.

At the same time, Mr. Krugman has accused North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory of waging an “attempted coup” for requesting a recount in his reelection bid. The latest count shows him trailing by fewer than 10,000 votes.

Daniel Payne, senior contributor at the conservative Federalist called out Mr. Krugman for hypocrisy.

“Got that? When a Republican challenges the results of an election, it’s a ‘coup,’” Mr. Payne said. “When the loser is a Democrat, however, such a challenge is absolutely necessary, ‘just in case.’”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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