Updated 5:30 p.m. — As of close of business on Monday, the Philadelphia Board of Elections had received petitions from 74 (out of more than 1,600) divisions.
Jill Stein’s effort to recount presidential votes in three swing states already appears to be sputtering in Philadelphia.
While Stein, a former presidential candidate, has raised millions of dollars and filed for a recount in Wisconsin, the process in Pennsylvania is much more complicated. Candidates cannot file for a recount themselves. Instead, they either have to go to court and attempt to prove widespread voter fraud (there’s no evidence of that at this point) or organize a voter-initiated recount effort.
Stein’s team is going for the latter, asking for thousands of volunteers across Pennsylvania to mobilize. For a voting division — also known as a precinct — to be recounted, three voters from that division must sign and file an affidavit.
As of noon Monday, the Philadelphia city Board of Elections had received petitions for 35 of the 1,686 voting divisions in Philadelphia, according to City Commissioner Al Schmidt. By 5:30 p.m., that number was 74— about 4 percent of the the city’s total divisions.
Stein needed more than 5,000 people in Philadelphia alone to sign petitions to file for a recount and would have had to mobilize about 30,000 people statewide to get a full recount going in Pennsylvania. She contends that though her campaign is targeting recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, it is not coordinating with the campaign of Hillary Clinton, who lost all three of those states to President-elect Donald Trump. The Green Party candidate has so far raised nearly $7 million to spearhead the recount.
Wanda Murren, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said in a statement Monday afternoon that the state is “working to gather information from the 67 counties regarding their progress in certifying election returns.” She said some counties have already certified their elections, therefore closing the five-day window to petition at the county level for a recount.
The Department of State is aware of petitions for a recount being filed in Berks, Bucks, Centre, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, but isn’t aware of how many were filed in each county.
Schmidt noted the county Board of Elections is required to audit 2 percent of voting machines following the election anyway, according to the Pennsylvania elections code. That means after each election is wrapped up, officials randomly audit voting machines to ensure the number of votes cast matches the number of electronic results in the central tabulation system.
For today, the county Board of Elections is in frequent contact with the Pennsylvania Department of State, which is expected to release a guidance to county officials today with instructions on how to move forward in recounting divisions where affidavits were filed. Schmidt said it remains a busy time for the county. Schmidt said that in the weeks after the election, the process of counting provisional ballots and verifying results continues.
The deadline for voters to file for a recount is the end of the day today.
Meanwhile, officials in Allegheny County have said they will delay certifying their election results as activists are filing petitions seeking a recount.