Jill Stein says she’ll file for recounts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as she racks up $4.5m from donors, but says she needs $2.5m MORE to push for Michigan and pay legal fees – and can’t promise states will approve filings

Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein raised $4.5m in just two days to pay for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. She wants a total of $7m

Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein raised $4.5m in just two days to pay for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. She wants a total of $7m

Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has now raised $4.5million in crowdfunded money – $2.5million more than her initial goal – but she says she needs a total of $7million to fund her proposed election recount. 

Stein set up the fund on her website Wednesday after experts said it was possible that hackers had artificially lowered Hillary Clinton’s counts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

She has now promised to file for recounts in the first two states, but says more money is needed before the Green Party can file in Michigan.

Initially the target goal was set at $2million. Stein said she hoped to raise that figure by Friday, which is the deadline for filing in Wisconsin, but blew through that in a matter of hours.

On Thursday night her site hit $4.5million in donations, and minutes later the target amount was bumped up to $7million – which she estimates is the maximum needed for the whole process.

But even then, she says, there are no guarantees.

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Stein announced Thursday that Wisconsin's recount had been funded; later she said that Pennsylvania would be filed too. She says Michigan has still not yet been covered by the cash

Stein announced Thursday that Wisconsin’s recount had been funded; later she said that Pennsylvania would be filed too. She says Michigan has still not yet been covered by the cash

She originally asked for $2m, saying that the total filing fees would come to $2.2m. That was upgraded to $4.5m, which was reached Thursday (pictured), and then to $7m Thursday night

She originally asked for $2m, saying that the total filing fees would come to $2.2m. That was upgraded to $4.5m, which was reached Thursday (pictured), and then to $7m Thursday night

The additional money is needed for legal fees and to pay observers, she says. She also says that there are no guarantees the states will allow the recounts, even if the money is paid 

The additional money is needed for legal fees and to pay observers, she says. She also says that there are no guarantees the states will allow the recounts, even if the money is paid 

According to Stein’s site, the fees that must be paid to the states in order to file for a recount come to a total of $2.6million: $1.1million in Wisconsin, $0.5million in Pennsylvania and $0.6million in Michigan.

But that’s only to get the ball rolling, Stine says.

‘Attorney’s fees are likely to be another $2-3 million, then there are the costs of the statewide recount observers in all three states,’ she wrote on her site. 

‘The total cost is likely to be $6-7 million.’

But Stein says even with that money, she can’t promise that a recount will go ahead. 

‘We cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting,’ she wrote. ‘We can only pledge we will demand recounts in those states.

Surplus money would ‘go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform,’ she added.

The site offers easy-click buttons for donations up to $2,700 – and says individuals can contribute another $20,000 on top of that by donating directly to two Green Party funds. 

Stein has cited the Green Party’s successful 2004 demand for an Ohio recount – which ended in two election officials being convicted of rigging the count – as proof of concept. 

The move theoretically puts Clinton back in play for the Presidency – but the odds are still against her, and the White House reportedly wants to get on with transitioning to Trump

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway criticized those who were calling for a recount earlier Thursday, writing on Twitter: ‘Look who “can’t accept the election results.”‘

She then linked to an article about Clinton supporters calling for a recount. 

On her website, Stein has positioned the fundraiser as ‘an effort to ensure the integrity of our elections’ after experts ‘independently identified Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as states where “statistical anomalies” raised concerns.’

‘Our effort to recount votes in those states is not intended to help Hillary Clinton,’ she said.

The recount may indeed help Clinton, however – if, as experts suggest could be the case, she has been the victim of a cyber-attack on electronic polling stations. 

According to New York, the group – which includes computer security and voting law experts – says Clinton performed 7 per cent worse in those Wisconsin counties in which voters input their choice directly into electronic voting machines.

In the other counties, where Clinton did better, voters have a paper ballot that is counted using an optical scanner or (in small numbers, to ensure accuracy) by hand.

That, they say, suggests the electronic voting machines could have been hacked to filter out Clinton votes – something that can’t be done when scanning paper ballots.

Their calculations say that proposed hack could have robbed Clinton of 30,000 votes in the state. She lost Wisconsin to Trump by 27,000.

The experts reached out to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in a conference call on November 17 to try to get Clinton to call for a recount. But Stein could do it herself

The experts reached out to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in a conference call on November 17 to try to get Clinton to call for a recount. But Stein could do it herself

They believe that Pennsylvania and Michigan are two other key states that could theoretically have been affected. If Clinton claimed all three in a recount, she would win the Electoral College. 

The scientists don’t have direct evidence of a hack, they say – if it exists, it would only come if Clinton demands an investigation and recount – but DNC emails were plundered by hackers in the run-up to the election.

Clinton campaign chair John Podesta also had his email account hacked and its contents leaked. 

And in August, both Illinois and Arizona election records were breached in a cyber-attack, according to the FBI and state agencies.

No suspects have been named in this potential voting hack, but Russia was fingered as a culprit in all of the attacks by US officials. 

The computer experts used a statistical analysis to conclude Clinton did worse in states with electronic voting machines - which they argue could have left the door open to hacking

The computer experts used a statistical analysis to conclude Clinton did worse in states with electronic voting machines – which they argue could have left the door open to hacking

The experts include J Alex Halderman, director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society.

In an article for Medium, Halderman admits that Clinton’s shock defeats in the states – which went against polling predictions – were ‘probably’ the fault of the polls being ‘systematically wrong’ rather than hacked.

But, he said, neither explanation was ‘overwhelmingly more likely than the other,’ and so it was imperative for ‘physical evidence’ to be examined.  

On November 17, his group contacted Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and general counsel Marc Elias to present them with their findings and push for a recount and investigation, according to New York magazine.

But the White House is reportedly leaning on Clinton not to demand the recount, as it wants to focus on smoothing the transition from the Obama administration to Trump’s new Cabinet.

However, if Stein gets her way, neither Clinton nor the White House will have a choice. 

Podesta's emails were hacked during the election campaign, as were DNC emails and voter data in Arizona and Illinois. US officials pointed to Russia as a culprit in all three cases

Podesta’s emails were hacked during the election campaign, as were DNC emails and voter data in Arizona and Illinois. US officials pointed to Russia as a culprit in all three cases

Clinton already conceded to Trump and gave a farewell speech. She faces a recount deadline of just days in the three states, even if a challenge is mounted

Clinton already conceded to Trump and gave a farewell speech. She faces a recount deadline of just days in the three states, even if a challenge is mounted

And Clinton’s success in the popular vote may prove more of an impetus to push out the boat anyway.

On Wednesday, as Stein’s takings rocketed, it was announced that her lead over Trump had increased to more than 2million, and was expected to keep rising.

David Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Report tweeted the result Wednesday, as her lead increased to 1.5 per cent of the vote. 

According to the Cook Report, Clinton’s ballot count is now at 64,225,863 -compared with Trump’s 62,210,612.

There are still millions more votes to be counted, and it’s believed that most of those will be for Clinton.

If Stein or Clinton want to push for the recounts, they’ll need to move fast, however.

If they want to file a recount in Wisconsin, the deadline is Friday. In Pennsylvania they have until Monday. And in Michigan the cut-off is November 30.

Experts would also have to examine the voting machines to see if there was evidence of hacking.

The same day, Clinton's lead in the popular vote increased to more than 2million. Millions more are left to be counted, and many are expected to go to Clinton

The same day, Clinton’s lead in the popular vote increased to more than 2million. Millions more are left to be counted, and many are expected to go to Clinton