Green Party's Jill Stein raises millions for election recount

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Green Party nominee Jill Stein appeared to have met her initial fundraising goal early Thursday for recounts of the vote in three key swing states that went to Donald Trump — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

However, she quickly raised the sum being sought by another $2 million. "Raising money to pay for the first round so quickly is a miraculous feat and a tribute to the power of grassroots organizing," a message on her website read.

RELATED: See Green Party candidate Stein on the campaign trail

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Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein speaks to supporters during a rally outside the Wells Fargo Center on the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein speaks during a rally of Bernie Sanders supporters outside the Wells Fargo Center on the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
Presumptive presidential candidate for the Green Party Dr. Jill Stein speaks at a cafe near the campus of the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio July 18, 2016. REUTERS/William Philpott
Presumptive 2016 Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein is surrounded by police and supporters of 'Black Men for Bernie' of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as she makes her exit after a rally during the 2016 Democratic National Convention on July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. / AFP / Patrick T. Fallon (Photo credit should read PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 26: Green Patry Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein speaks to pro-Bernie Sanders supporters outside City Hall in Philadelphia on July 26, 2016. Many Sanders supporters are saying they will vote for Stein rather than vote for Hillary Clinton. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 06: Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein speaks at the National Press Club February 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. Stein announced the formation of an exploratory committee to seek the Green Party's presidential nomination again in 2016. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: Jill Stein waits to speak before announcing that she will seek the Green Party's presidential nomination, at the National Press Club, June 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. Stein also ran for president in 2012 on the Green Party ticket. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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The Green Party did not single out any specific evidence of fraud, nor does it need proof of irregularities to call for a recount. Stein's party won only 1 percent of the vote.

"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," Stein said on Wednesday. "These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust."

Related: Clinton's Popular Vote Lead Now More Than 2 Million

A small but vocal group of scientists and activists have emerged in recent days advocating for a recount on the basis of Trump's wholly unexpected win and concerns about Russian involvement in the election. They note that only a small minority of public polls predicted Trump's success, and though public polls have been wrong before the magnitude of their error this cycle was unprecedented.

They also point to evidence Russian hackers infiltrated the Democratic National Committee and potentially a top adviser to Hillary Clinton's campaign as evidence of both ability and willingness. Hackers compromised voter records in Illinois and attempted to breach voting systems in a handful of other states prior to the election.

Clinton's campaign officials have not commented on Stein's efforts, which hinge on the Green Party's ability to pay for a recount.

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Hillary Clinton addresses the Children's Defense Fund's Beat the Odds celebration at the Newseum in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016.

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Hillary Clinton hugs Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the, Children's Defense Fund, before addressing the group's Beat the Odds celebration at the Newseum in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016.

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Hillary Clinton walks from the stage after speaking to the Childrenâs Defense Fund in Washington, U.S., November 16, 2016.

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Hillary Clinton pauses as she speaks at the Children's Defense Fund Beat the Odds Celebration at the Newseum in Washington on November 16, 2016.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton receives a standing ovation while being honored during the Children's Defense Fund's Beat the Odds Celebration at the Newseum November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. This was the first time Clinton had spoken in public since conceeding the presidential race to Republican Donald Trump.

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Hillary Clinton is seen thru two chairs as she addresses the Children's Defense Fund's Beat the Odds celebration at the Newseum in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016.

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Former Secretary of State and former Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton delivers remarks while being honored during the Children's Defense Fund's Beat the Odds Celebration at the Newseum November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. This was the first time Clinton had spoken in public since conceeding the presidential race to Republican Donald Trump.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton and Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund, wave before Clinton speaks to the group in Washington, U.S., November 16, 2016.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Hillary Clinton arrives at the Children's Defense Fund Beat the Odds Celebration at the Newseum in Washington on November 16, 2016.

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Hillary Clinton speaks to the Childrenâs Defense Fund in Washington, U.S., November 16, 2016.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Hillary Clinton is seen through a teleprompter as she speaks at the Children's Defense Fund Beat the Odds Celebration at the Newseum in Washington on November 16, 2016.

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On Wednesday, Stein told supporters she needs to raise "over $2 million by this Friday, 4 p.m. central" in order to put her plan to action. The deadline to file for a recount in Wisconsin is Friday, while the deadlines for Pennsylvania and Michigan are next week. Recounts are costly to conduct, and each state requires various fees depending on the size of the vote lead and how expansive the recount is.

She surpassed her website's original $2.5 million goal by 3 a.m. ET on Thursday. Within around 20 minutes, the sum had been increased to $4.5 million.

Credit: Jill Stein

"Now that we have nearly completed funding Wisconsin's recount (which is due on Friday), we can begin to tackle the funding for Michigan's recount (due Monday) and Pennsylvania's recount (due Wednesday)," a message on her site read. "In true grassroots fashion, we're turning to you, the people, and not big-money corporate donors to make this happen."

A recount wouldn't change the outcome for Stein. She came in fourth, behind Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump, taking a little less than 1.4 million votes overall.

But there's a very small chance that a recount in those states could boost Clinton. Trump won Michigan by about 9,500 votes, Wisconsin by 22,500 votes and Pennsylvania by 69,700.

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Given the relatively wide margin for Trump, and Clinton's narrow advantage in more traditionally blue states like Minnesota, it's unlikely compromised voting machines were to blame.

Most political observers agree the more likely reason for Clinton's loss was an unforeseen breakdown in the Democratic turnout machine in key states, and Democrats simply staying home. There was no evidence of any vote tampering on Election Day, and even flipping one state in Clinton's favor wouldn't give her the Electoral College votes needed to win.

Related: N.C. Gov. Files for Recount as Challenger's Lead Grows

Last week, two experts advocating for a recount, voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, made a phone call to Clinton campaign officials. The voting experts urged the campaign to file for a recount in key states, but their efforts, one person on the call said, were rebuffed.

"While many of us were hoping Clinton's campaign would pursue this, it seems clear they won't, because they said there's no clear proof of fraud" at the ballot box, which candidates typically cite in calling for a recount, that person said.

The source said it was clear the Clinton advisers were also concerned about not disrupting the transfer of power or causing further unrest over the Trump presidency, which has already sparked protests and marches across the U.S. in the weeks since Clinton conceded and Trump became president-elect.

But proof of fraud is both "usually unattainable and also unnecessary" in many states to file for a recount, the person on the call said, and at the very least it would allay concerns from voters who insist the results of the election don't reflect them.

"There's either a huge subset of hidden voters that didn't tell pollsters how they were going to vote, or something went awry with those voting systems. If we can X out that second option, why not?" the source said.

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