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Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein officially filed a request to election officials Friday to conduct a recount in the battleground state of Wisconsin.
State Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas said Stein filed the request around mid-afternoon Friday, about an hour and a half ahead of a 5 p.m. CST deadline.
“The Commission is preparing to move forward with a statewide recount of votes for President of the United States,” Haas said in a press release. “We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.”
Stein, who earned little more than 1 percent of the national vote, formally requested a Wisconsin recount Friday afternoon, vowing to do the same in the coming days in Michigan and Pennsylvania. There is no evidence of election tampering in the states where Trump scored razor-thin victories, but Green Party spokesman George Martin insisted "the American public needs to have it investigated to make sure our votes count."
Wisconsin GOP Executive Director Mark Morgan issued a statement calling the recount request "absurd and nothing more than an expensive political stunt that undermines Wisconsin's election process." Republican Sen. Devin LeMahieu, who chairs the Senate elections committee, said he would re-examine state law next year to ensure "a candidate who received 1 percent of the vote cannot hold the results of an election hostage."
Martin said Republicans' response was expected and stressed that the recount was about determining whether the system was secure, not who won or lost the fight for Wisconsin's 10 electoral college votes. During a news conference in Milwaukee, Martin said Stein's campaign would also ask for a "reconciliation" of voting records that would go beyond an audit, but he didn't provide details.
Stein's campaign has been raising money online to cover the costs of recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. She says she wants to make sure hackers didn't skew the results in those swing states. The campaign had raised about $5.2 million as of Friday afternoon.
Late Tuesday, Stein issued a press release calling on supporters to raise $2.5 million to fund a recount effort in three states that Donald Trump won - Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Wisconsin law calls for the state to perform a recount at a candidate's request as long as he or she can pay for it. The state has never performed a presidential recount. Election officials estimate the effort will cost up to $1 million.
The state is working under a federal deadline of December 13 to complete the recount.
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