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US Green Party raises millions for presidential vote recount

The Green Party candidate Jill Stein has raised over $4 million to request vote recounts in three US states. Stein cited 'statistical anomalies' in results from states where Donald Trump narrowly beat Hillary Clinton.

Jill Stein, the US Green Party's former presidential candidate reached the necessary funds to request a vote recount in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin, her campaign announced on Thursday.

USA Jill Stein Green Party (picture-alliance/AA/E. Avci)

Stein said the recount campaign was "not intended to help Hillary Clinton"

On Wednesday morning, Stein and the Green party launched the campaign to raise funds to file for presidential election audits in three states, citing unspecified "statistical anomalies" as grounds for the recounts.

Donations to the cause surged well over the campaign's initial goal of $2.5 million (2.3 million euros) to fund the Wisconsin recount within less than 24 hours after the campaign launched.

The campaign has reached over $4 million (3.79 million euros) towards its current $4.5 million goal of funding recounts in Pennsylvania and eventually Michigan, Stein's site said.

"The unexpected results of the election and reported anomalies need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified," Stein said on her website. "We deserve elections we can trust."

Wisconsin's $1.1 million filing fee has been covered in time to file for a recount before the state's Friday deadline. Filing for a recount in Pennsylvania is expected to initially cost $500,000 and must be completed by next Monday, the website states. Michigan's $600,000 filing fee is due by next Wednesday.

In total, the campaign anticipates eventually needing up to $7 million to cover attorney fees and statewide recount observation costs. In order to challenge the vote, a presidential candidate needs to file for the recount and pay the fees. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign has not yet commented on Stein's recount efforts.

Tight race in key states

Stein and the Green Party have emphasized, however, that the campaign to recount votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan were not part of an effort to overturn the vote in favor of Clinton.

"Our effort to recount votes in those states is not intended to help Hillary Clinton," Stein and her campaign emphasized on the site.

The campaign also noted that it "cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting. We can only pledge we will demand recounts in those states."

President-elect Donald Trump carried all three states by a very narrow margin despite opinion polls indicating victories for Clinton.

The unofficial tally in Michigan puts Trump ahead of Clinton by a mere 10,704 votes, according to data released on Wednesday.

Although Clinton won over 2 million more popular votes than Trump, the Republican candidate gained the most number of votes in the Electoral College to take the presidency.

Possible 'cyberattack'

A group of computer scientists and election lawyers also contacted the Clinton campaign on Tuesday to urge them to call for a vote recount in the three key states, citing a suspicious pattern in voting results from electronic voting machines.

The group has not found concrete proof that someone hacked the electronic voting machines, but said it merits review in light of the cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee. The US government blamed the hack and email leak on Russian-backed hackers.

"The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence - paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania," wrote computer scientist J. Alex Halderman in an article published on "Medium."

Some statisticians, polling experts, and election lawyers have expressed doubts over the group's allegations, saying the claims lack concrete evidence.

rs/jm  (AFP, Reuters)

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