Jill Stein has collected $7.3 million dollars, and she is still begging for more. The new goal for the recount is $9.5 million. And get this, on her website, the Green Party candidate is still pushing the fantasy that recounts are somehow going to happen in Michigan and Pennsylvania. On top of some significant legal setbacks, the deadline for states to certify results is December 13. That’s in just four days. With a recount halted in one state, and not even underway in another, there is just little feasible way this is going to happen in time.
When Stein first started this effort she said she needed to raise $2.5 million. When she quickly saw the coffers fill, she changed her goal to $7 million. And now the Stein campaign claims they are desperately in need of almost $10 million to get this done. Somehow, and quite miraculously, people are still being fooled into pulling out their wallets. We are now exactly 10 days until the Electoral College meets and Stein is no closer to where she began in her effort to bring “election integrity” back to the system. In fact, she’s done quite the opposite. Her initiative, for the most part, has been a colossal failure. In Wisconsin, the one state where a recount is underway, the early results show absolutely no significant change to overall numbers. They also don’t show any evidence of rigging or fraud.
Stein’s raised twice as much money than she ever gathered as an actual candidate during the campaign. This is largely due to desperate Hillary Clinton supporters who are clinging on to any last hope of keeping Donald Trump from the White House. While I can’t totally blame them for their sentiments, continuing to donate to this effort is a total waste of money. When it comes down to it, the only person who has actually benefited from this recount effort is Jill Stein (and The Green Party). She now has thousands of new names on her roster to solicit donations from in the future. This isn’t about bringing integrity back to the system, and it’s now become a big waste of time and money too.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at where she stands in the three states which she targeted for recounts:
In Michigan, a federal judge put an end to the recount late Wednesday. The Michigan State Court of Appeals ruled that the recount never should have begun in the first place, because Stein is not an “aggrieved candidate.” After all, she received just over 1% of the vote. Stein attempted to argue that she had a constitutional right to a recount, but Judge Mark Goldsmith didn’t buy it. Goldsmith wrote in his opinion that such a right doesn’t exist. The only one that does is the right “to participate in a fair election, free from tampering or mistake.” While Stein alleged “speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery,” Judge Goldsmith wrote that she did not bring any actual evidence of tampering. The judge wrote:
“But invoking a court’s aid to remedy that problem in the manner plaintiffs have chosen — seeking a recount as an audit of the election to test whether the vulnerability led to actual compromise of the voting system — has never been endorsed by any court, and would require, at a minimum, evidence of significant fraud or mistake — and not speculative fear of them. Such evidence has not been presented here.
Not deterred, on Thursday, she held an “emergency rally” to speak out against the decision and call on the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately allow the recount to continue. Before the judge had put a stop to the recount, Ingham county had finished its recount. And guess, what? Trump actually gained 73 votes, Clinton gained 138, and Stein lost two votes! With just four days left until the results must be certified under federal law, it’s clear this one isn’t going anywhere.
The recount in this state has not even begun. Election officials are still in a holding pattern until a hearing this afternoon in federal court. After a failed attempt in state court, Stein filed a lawsuit in federal court demanding a judge order the recount. Pennsylvania election officials have asked that the court throw the case out, calling it a “fishing expedition.” The State’s attorney general, who is a Democrat, even attacked the recount effort as well.
“[T]he plaintiffs want to audit machines even though they concede that there may be no evidence of anything when they look. This is the epitome of a fishing expedition and cannot be sanctioned in the context of a presidential election and a last minute attempt to derail Pennsylvania’s election results, ” Pennsylvania AG Bruce Beemer wrote in a court filing. While Stein might be right that Pennsylvania’s election system is outdated with paperless electronic voting machines, that’s not a reason to upend the system without any evidence of fraud or malfeasance.
Before Stein went to federal court, she tried the same thing in state court, but dropped her lawsuit because the $1 million bond was too much for her to pay (still unclear why that’s the case if they’ve raised $7.3 million). Ned Foley, an election law professor at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, told The Huffington Post that Stein had little evidence to support her case that Pennsylvania’s election result is illegal. “Votes have to be counted fairly … but that does not guarantee anybody a right to a recount,” Foley said
Wisconsin is the only state where she has been successful in getting a recount underway. What has it revealed? Absolutely nothing. No evidence of fraud. No evidence of rigging. With about 75% of the votes re-counted, Hillary Clinton cut into Donald Trump’s 22,000 vote lead by a whopping 82 votes.
The fact that three states are still wasting time and resources on this pointless and futile effort is mind boggling. As The New Yorker‘s Jeffrey Toobin accurately pointed out, her effort is distracting us from the real “voting-rights scandal of 2016” which is voter suppression. This was the first election since the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision which pretty much gave the green light for Republican-controlled states to pass restrictive voting laws that effectively prevented some minorities from voting. So yes, there was voter disenfranchisement in the 2016 election, but Stein’s fruitless recounts aren’t going to unveil the possibly thousands of ballots that were never cast.
“Prolonging the campaign by seeking a recount breeds unwarranted doubt about the legitimacy of our elections — without any real evidence to back it up. Our democratic system relies on everyone accepting the result,” Joshua A. Douglas, a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law who specializes in election law, wrote in a recent opinion piece.
Stein needs to stop her efforts, and give what money she has left (if any) back to the donors immediately.
[image via shutterstock]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.