Pennsylvania voting machine and 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

💡 Get Philly smart 💡
with BP’s free daily newsletter

Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.

Update, 3:45 PM: Jill Stein officially filed a lawsuit in a bid to force a recount of all of Pennsylvania’s votes.

By the end of Monday, the process for recounting 5.8 million Pennsylvania presidential election votes could begin.

In fact, if it’s going to happen, it has to — Monday, Nov. 28 is PA’s recount deadline.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein asked for donations last week to file for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and got the necessary cash. She filed for a recount in Wisconsin Friday.

And she’ll have help. The possibility has spurred Hillary Clinton’s campaign to announce it would participate should Stein initiate a recount. This news spurred a flurry of tweets from President-Elect Donald Trump, who falsely claimed millions of people voted illegally in other states (he beat Clinton by about 70,000 votes and just over 1 percent in PA).

Of course, Pennsylvania’s recount process is convoluted, and a full-on recount is close to impossible. Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening with our state’s possible recount:

[twitter url=” “]

Jill Stein needs help

Stein can’t simply ask for a recount in Pennsylvania. She needs Keystone State residents to ask for one for her.   

That’s because for a recount to happen — barring a credible accusation of voter fraud ruled by the courts — three voters in each district must petition the results through an affidavit. Philadelphia alone, with its 1,600 voting divisions, would need requests from nearly 5,000 people to undergo a recount. The whole state would likely need about 30,000 volunteers. Stein got about 49,000 votes in PA.

Through Facebook and Twitter, she’s been asking for volunteers and has set up a process showing interested parties how to file an affidavit. As of 11 a.m. Sunday, she tweeted 1,500 Pennsylvanians had volunteered.

The deadline has already passed in some Pennsylvania districts, Stein said in a message to prospective volunteers. So it’s unlikely all of Pennsylvania is going to be recounted, regardless of Stein’s attempt.  

The PA GOP claims conspiracy

But not over possible voter fraud. Instead, the party is claiming Stein and Clinton are in cahoots. In a statement released Sunday afternoon, the Pennsylvania Republicans noted Stein lost to Trump by nearly 48 percentage points and “as such it is clear that she does not have a good faith basis to challenge the results  She is clearly serving as a stalking horse for the Clinton campaign that once again will not take responsibility for its actions.”

The PA GOP also pointed out pre-election remarks from Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortés, who said “to imply that fraud is rampant – at any level – from the precinct-level to an entire city or state – is without merit and lacks any credence or proof within the modern history of elections in this country or commonwealth.”

The Clinton campaign said it has hired lawyers and data scientists to comb over the results and has not found any evidence of possible hacks. But the campaign said it will support Stein’s recount attempts.   

On Twitter Sunday, Stein denied any connection to Clinton over the recount, writing she had made courtesy calls to the Clinton, Trump and Gary Johnson campaigns and was not “working with” Clinton.

“We’re not trying to hurt one candidate or help another candidate,” Stein said in a Facebook video. “This is about helping all voters.”  

Trump’s rebuttal

With Pennsylvania on the verge of a recount, Donald Trump has gotten a little testy. As he tends to do in times like these, he vented on Twitter. The President-elect tweeted previous comments from Clinton saying, “We have to accept the results and look to the future.” He then claimed, citing no evidence, millions of people voted illegally and major fraud had occurred in Virginia, California and New Hampshire.

The Pennsylvania problem

Should a significant number of counties get the requisite number of petitions, the recount process could be arduous. This is because many Pennsylvania polling stations don’t produce paper copies.

For a recount, each machine in the state would have to be opened and re-analyzed. Stein is also seeking volunteers to observe this recount process, especially in Pennsylvania’s smaller counties.


Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...