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Clinton team to take part in US presidential election recount in Wisconsin

Hillary Clinton's campaign has joined efforts for a recount of presidential ballots in Wisconsin. The recount began after the Green Party candidate ponied up millions in administrative costs to verify Donald Trump's win.

The Clinton campaign's top lawyer, Marc Elias, said Saturday that the Democrats had not planned to seek a recount since its own investigation indicated there had been no hacking or significant fraud in the US election.

"But now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides," Elias said in a post on the Medium website.

The announcement comes a day after Wisconsin's election board approved the recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Stein has said she wants to test the integrity of the US voting system against manipulation or potential hacking into the US electoral system.

Stein raised $5.8 million (5.48 million euros) of the $7 million needed to cover fees and legal costs for recounts in three states, according to her campaign website. If Stein follows through on promises for recounts in other US states including Pennsylvania and Michigan, "we will take the same approach in those states as well," Elias said.

Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan were considered battleground states where Republican Donald Trump edged out Clinton by relatively thin margins. Although Trump won the Electoral College tally, Clinton will have won the national popular vote by more than 2 million ballots when the final results are tallied.

The Green Party candidate has cited unspecified "anomalies" as grounds to push for the recounts. "After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable," she said on her website.

Trump, who had avoided making a comment on the recount until Saturday, labeled the Green Party's efforts as a "scam."

"This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing," Trump said. "This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than 1 percent of the vote overall and wasn't even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount."

Computer scientists question veracity of returns

The recount in Wisconsin will include examining by hand the state's nearly 3 million ballots. The recount is expected to begin late next week and faces a deadline of December 13. The Wisconsin filing fee is $1.1 million, and the $500,000 filing fee has been raised for a recount in Pennsylvania, Stein's website said. The deadline for filing in that state is Monday.

Yet the voting margins, which have been flagged by some experts as improbable, make it highly unlikely any recounts would end up giving Clinton a win in all three states, which would be needed for Trump's majority in the Electoral College to be overturned. 

jar/jlw (AFP, Reuters)