Green Party raises funds to force vote recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania

Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on Aug 23, 2016.
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on Aug 23, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

MILWAUKEE (REUTERS) - Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said on Thursday (Nov 24) that she has raised US$3.5 million (S$5 million) to force recounts of the Nov 8 election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three states where Mr Donald Trump scored narrow wins.

The campaign said it exceeded its initial goal for raising US$2.5 million and has enough money to pay Wisconsin's US$1.1 million filing fee due on Friday. At the same time, the party said it raised its target to US$4.5 million, with filing deadlines approaching in Pennsylvania on Monday and Michigan on Wednesday.

Ms Stein is pushing for recounts because experts pointed to statistical anomalies in the tallies in all three battleground states, according to the party's website.

Mr Trump, a Republican who ran as an anti-establishment maverick, carried all three states by narrow margins despite public opinion polls pointing to victories by Mrs Hillary Clinton, the Democratic standard-bearer.

"We deserve elections we can trust," the campaign said, adding that the effort was not intended to help Mrs Clinton.

A representative of the president-elect's transition team could not be reached for comment.

But Ms Kellyanne Conway, a senior Trump adviser, suggested that efforts to force recounts were ironic, given harsh criticism of Mr Trump before the election when he would not say whether he would accept the result of what he called a "rigged" political system.

"Look who can't accept the election results," Ms Conway said in a Twitter message, pointing to a headline in the New York Times that read "Hillary Clinton Supporters Call for Vote Recount in Battleground States".

Although Mrs Clinton won more votes than Mr Trump on a nationwide basis, the real estate developer exceeded the number of votes in the Electoral College needed to take the presidency. Electoral votes are apportioned state by state, mostly on a winner-take-all basis.

Ms Stein took a little more than 1 per cent of the popular vote, while Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson came in third place behind Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton.

Ms Stein's website said that the total cost of recounts in the three states was US$6 million to US$7 million, but it did not explain why the campaign's new target was only US$4.5 million.