What you need to know about the election recounts

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein officially requested a vote recount in Wisconsin Friday and has indicated she intends to do the same in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Here's a rundown of what you need to know about the recounts and what to expect:

Could the recount change the outcome of the election?

While technically possible, even Stein admits the recounts are unlikely to change the results of the election. She would have to able to initiate a state-wide recount in all three states and then Clinton would have to overcome her vote deficits in each one to wrest the electoral votes needed from Trump.

In what states are the recounts being requested?

So far, Stein has only officially filed for a recount in Wisconsin, although she plans to ask for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania as well.

What are the votes differences in the three states?

• Michigan: Trump ahead 10,704 votes.
• Pennsylvania: Trump ahead 70,638 votes.
• Wisconsin: Trump ahead 22,177 votes.

How have the Clinton and Trump teams responded?

The Clinton campaign announced that it will participate in the Wisconsin recount to ensure fairness. Trump called the effort a "scam" aimed at filling the Green Party's "coffers."

What are the deadlines?

Stein must file her recount request by Monday in Pennsylvania and by Wednesday in Michigan. Those states must complete their recounts by a Dec. 13 deadline set by the federal government. The big deadline is Dec. 19 when all of the states' electors must meet to cast their Electoral College votes. States that miss those deadlines risk not having their electoral votes counted.

Why is Jill Stein the one requesting the recount?

Stein has cited "statistical anomalies," the differences between exit polls and actual results, and the possibility that election machines were hacked as the reasons for her recount effort. She says she wants voters to "be sure we have a fair, secure and accurate voting system.”

Why did Stein have to raise money for the recount?

Recounts aren't cheap and each state has its own laws about who and what can trigger them. In Wisconsin, a candidate who loses by more than 0.25% must pay for the cost of the recount, which could amount to as much as $1 million. In Michigan, when the margin in a race is more than 0.5%, the candidate must pay $125 per precinct, which adds up to $787,500. Stein estimates the Pennsylvania recount will cost $500,000. She also assumes $2-3 million in legal fees. So far, she has raised almost $6.3 million of the $7 million she's seeking to cover the total costs for the three recounts.

Could recount requests be rejected?

Yes. Wisconsin has already announced that the recount will begin Thursday if the fees are paid but Tuesday, but the state election commission rejected Stein's request for a hand recount. That leaves it up to each of the state's 72 counties whether to perform the recount by machine or by hand. Stein intends to challenge the ruling in court.

In Michigan, the request goes to the Board of State Canvassers and Trump can challenge the request.

Pennsylvania is more complicated where Stein can't simply file for a recount. She must win a lawsuit and provide evidence of voting irregularities or she must get three voters in each of the state's 9,163 voting precincts to request a recount — although at least one election official says the deadline for a voter-initiated recount has already passed. Even if she overcomes this major hurdle, there's this problem: Pennsylvania relies on electronic voting machines and there is no paper ballot or receipts to look at in a recount.


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