MADISON, Wis. - Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein says she is launching an organization to ensure every vote is counted in Wisconsin.
Stein, who led efforts to recount Wisconsin's presidential election results, introduced the Count My Vote group at a news conference outside the state Capitol Tuesday.
Stein said her campaign asked for a statewide hand recount, but only about half of precincts recounted by hand, leaving questions about the election's integrity.
Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said recounts are designed for close elections, but Wisconsin's presidential race was not close.
McDonell said the decision to do a hand count in Dane County was based on the assurance from staff members that the county could complete the recount by the deadline, the preference for a hand count by the Stein campaign, which was funding it, and the individual scrutiny that is given to ballots is more consistent with the goal of recounts.
"Wisconsin’s presidential race was not close," McDonell said in a release."This was, as a matter of fact, an abuse of the recount prerogative, born of the irrational belief that Wisconsin’s highly decentralized and secure elections infrastructure is vulnerable to the kind and degree of meddling that might overturn the will of the voters."
McDonell said elections administrators in Wisconsin conduct regular post-election audits, as required by law, and in Dane County they go "above and beyond what the law requires" by hand counting ballots in a set of randomly selected wards to make sure they are aligned with the reported results.
"Aspiring election thieves would have no way of knowing ahead of time which wards would be subject to such stringent auditing," McDonell said. "They would, however, know that their meddling carries a high likelihood of detection."
McDonell said the recount was an "insult to suggest that we don't know how to do our jobs."
"I hope that in the future citizens and media representatives demand such proof and not buy in to convoluted conspiracy theories about how an election has been or could be 'rigged' or 'hacked.' It may be good for raising money online (or continuing to raise money online) but it is demonstrably false and damages our basic belief in American democracy," McDonell said.
Stein's Count My Vote will ensure votes are accurately counted and that voting machines function properly. Stein said the organization will review local recount reports to recommend changes to the state's election process. The organization plans to publish a report in about two weeks.
Stein said Count My Vote will be funded by donors.
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