US election recount: Clinton campaign says they're involved in Jill Stein’s efforts but are not pushing for audit

Campaign lawyer Marc Elias said the campaign will participate in the recount and observe the process, but is not pushing and has never sought a recount

Rachael Revesz
New York
Wednesday 30 November 2016 17:10 GMT
Campaign lawyer Mr Elias suggested they were inherently involved in the recount, rather than actively pushing for one
Campaign lawyer Mr Elias suggested they were inherently involved in the recount, rather than actively pushing for one (Getty Images)

The lawyer for the Hillary Clinton campaign has said they are not seeking a recount of the vote, but the campaign supports Jill Stein’s recount efforts as a matter of transparency and to make sure “voters’ interests are protected”.

Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias whipped up a firestorm after stating that the campaign would "participate" in Green party candidate Ms Stein’s move to audit the vote in certain swing states.

His Medium post prompted critics to call the campaign hypocritical, as Ms Clinton said during a debate that it was "horrifying" that Donald Trump might not accept the election result.

But Mr Elias insisted in an interview with the Washington Post that his words - and the actions of the campaign - had been misinterpreted. Ms Stein's recount concerned an election that "necessarily involved" the Clinton campaign, as Ms Clinton was a candidate in the 2016 race. They would "observe the process", he said, with the aim of ensuring that every vote had been counted.

“Let me be clear: We have not asked for a recount. We have not sought a recount. We have not pushed for a recount. What we have done is say that if there is going to be a recount, we will participate in the ways I have described," he said.

He added that he had been part of many vote recounts during his career and that a basic vote audit - which does not happen in many states - should be a routine matter.

Mr Trump, he said, also had the legal right to file for recounts in states, and the Clinton campaign would participate in those, too.

Hillary's first speech since presidential defeat

Mr Elias said in the Medium blog post that the campaign had taken several "quiet" steps after the election to ensure every voter had been accounted for.

These steps included a group of data scientists and electoral lawyers looking for data anomalies to suggest the results had been hacked, and the campaign held calls with data experts to discuss their findings.

One such call was leaked to New York Magazine, where a group of data experts said they had found evidence that election manipulation had been possible in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania - three states that helped clinch the election for Mr Trump.

Shortly after this discovery, Ms Stein raised more than $5 million to request a voter recount in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania before the deadline.

Mr Elias said that evidence showed that hacking was "possible", but they had not received evidence that hacking or widespread voter fraud had taken place.

"Obviously, we know that the Russian state entities hacked into the Democratic Party," he added.

"And we know that they hacked into several prominent Democrats' emails, including the Clinton campaign chairman’s.

"We also know that there were pre-election efforts to break into various state voter files. Thus, we believe it was a prudent and necessary step for us to take to see whether they could have also hacked into the voting systems."

What to expect from the Trump transition

Ms Clinton has a lead of 2.36 million votes in the popular count, as tallied by the Cook Political Report, but the unique, winner-takes-all electoral college system swept Mr Trump to victory.

Ms Stein has distanced herself from the Clinton campaign’s involvement.

She wrote on twitter last week: "Election integrity cannot be led by a party w/o integrity, just as a revolution cannot happen in a counterrevolutionary party."

Mr Trump said Ms Stein's efforts were a "scam" designed to raise money for the Green Party. He said the election was "over" and people should look to the future.

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