An election recount will take place soon in Wisconsin, after former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein filed a petition Friday with the state's Elections Commission, the first of three states where she has promised to contest the election result.
The move from Stein, who raised millions since her Wednesday announcement that she would seek recounts of Donald Trump's apparent election victories in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, came just 90 minutes before Wisconsin's 5 p.m. Friday deadline to file a petition. Now it will keep some hope alive for many Hillary Clinton supporters for another few weeks while Wisconsin recounts ballots before a Dec. 13 deadline.
Trump scored upset victories in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and seems on the path to declare a victory in Michigan as well, although the result of the election in that state will not be certified officially until Monday. Had Clinton won those three states, previously seen as part of the Democrats' "firewall," she would have secured enough votes in the Electoral College to win the election.
Stein announced her intention to file the petition following reports that a group of data experts and election lawyers were urging Clinton to demand a recount in those three states, on suspicion that a cyberattack could have manipulated the results of the election in those states. While the group had no specific proof of hacking, they noted irregularities suggesting Clinton routinely did more poorly in Wisconsin counties that used voting machines, as opposed to those that relied on paper ballots.
Trump secured a total of 1,404,000 votes in Wisconsin, according to the commission; Clinton had 1,381,823. Stein secured 31,006 votes.
To be on the safe side, the group of experts urged a recount - but it was Stein's campaign that ended up demanding one, soliciting at first $2.5 million and later up to $7 million to fund the recounts. As of Friday evening, Stein's campaign reported taking in over $5.25 million in recount-related donations - the most by a third-party candidate in history.
Wisconsin has the first deadline of the three states in question. If Stein's campaign wishes to file recount petitions in the other states as promised, she must do so by Monday to meet Pennsylvania's deadline, and Wednesday to meet Michigan's deadline.
In the end, Stein was not the only presidential candidate to demand a recount. Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente, the Reform Party nominee who got 1,514 Wisconsin votes, also filed a recount petition, according to the state's Elections Commission.
In a statement, Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas guessed that the cost and complexity of the recount would be in excess of the state's last recount in 2011, which carried a price tag of more than $520,000. In that recount over a state Supreme Court seat, the commission had to recount 1.5 million votes - about half the 2.975 million ballot votes that were cast during the 2016 presidential election.
Stein put a note on her Facebook page on Friday, asking supporters "to consider volunteering to help in the recount process."
The county boards of canvassers will conduct the recount, according to the commission's statement, and will have the authority "to decide which ballots should and should not be counted," Haas said.
If the candidates disagree with the results of the Wisconsin recount, they will have five business days to contest the outcome in court.