NEW YORK • Mrs Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote is growing. She is roughly 30,000 votes behind President-elect Donald Trump in the key swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin - a combined gap that is narrowing.
Her impassioned supporters are now urging her to challenge the election results in those two states and Pennsylvania, grasping at the last straws to reverse Mr Trump's decisive majority in the electoral college.
In recent days, they have seized on a report by a respected computer scientist and other experts suggesting that Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - the keys to Mr Trump's electoral college victory - need to manually review paper ballots to ensure that the election was not hacked.
"Were this year's deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyber-attack?" asked computer science professor J. Alex Halderman in an article posted on Medium on Wednesday, as calls based on his conclusions mounted.
"Probably not." More likely, he wrote, pre-election polls were "systematically wrong".
But the only way to resolve the lingering questions would be to examine "paper ballots and vo- ting equipment in critical states", he wrote.
Tellingly, the pleas for recounts have gained no support from the Clinton campaign, which has concluded, along with outside experts, that it is highly unlikely the outcome would change even after an expensive and time-consuming review of ballots.
But that conclusion has not quieted Mrs Clinton's supporters, who point to the inequity of her growing lead in the national popular vote. The tally has now exceeded 2 million votes, or 1.5 per cent of all ballots cast, according to the non-partisan Cook Political Report, which regularly updates its count as states continue to tally and certify votes.
Since there is currently no effort to review the paper ballots - which exist in Michigan and Wisconsin, but only in parts of Pennsylvania - conspiracy theories about this year's election could live on for years.
In the three battleground states, Mrs Clinton is behind by 1.2 per cent or less, and the final results have not yet been certified.