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Green Party's Stein files recount request in Wisconsin

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Jill Stein speaks in Minneapolis
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has formally requested a recount of election results in Wisconsin.
Evan Frost | MPR News file

Updated: 4:28 p.m. | Posted: 1:23 p.m.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Friday formally requested a recount of election results in Wisconsin.

President-elect Donald Trump narrowly won Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and has a small lead in Michigan. Stein has said she planned to request recounts in the three states — all reliably Democratic in recent presidential elections — to see whether hacking may have taken place, though there's no evidence voter results were hacked or electronic voting machines were compromised.

Wisconsin has never conducted a presidential recount. Wisconsin Election Commission officials estimate the process could cost as much as $1 million.

Unofficial results compiled by the commission show Trump with 1,404,000 votes, Hillary Clinton with 1,381,823 votes and Stein with 31,000 votes. Wisconsin officials have already announced an audit of the state vote. Wisconsin is less vulnerable to cyberattacks because it uses electronic machines with voter-verifiable paper trails in most counties.

"There's no smoking gun here, but we're saying the American public needs to have it investigated to make sure our votes count," said George Martin, a member of the Wisconsin Green Party's coordinating council. "We're doing this to ensure the integrity of our system."

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas said Stein's campaign filed the request Friday afternoon, ahead of the state's 5 p.m. Friday deadline for recount requests for the November election. Under state law, the state must comply with candidates' recount requests if the candidates can present a basis for one and cover the cost if the margin between the candidates is more than .25 percent of the total votes cast.

Stein has been raising money through online appeals since Tuesday to cover the costs of recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. She had raised $5.2 million as of Friday afternoon.

During a news conference in Milwaukee, Martin said Stein's campaign would also ask for a "reconciliation" of voting records that would go beyond an audit. He didn't provide details.

Wisconsin GOP Executive Director Mark Morgan issued a statement calling the recount request "absurd and nothing more than an expensive political stunt that undermines Wisconsin's election process." Martin said Republicans' response was expected and stressed that the recount was about determining whether the system was secure, not who won or lost the election.

Independent presidential candidate Rocky De La Fuente, who got 1,514 votes in Wisconsin, also filed a recount request in Wisconsin on Friday afternoon saying he, too, was worried about cyber-tampering.

Ross Hein, elections supervisor for the state commission, sent a memo to county clerks on Wednesday telling them to expect a recount. He said the process could be frustrating after a labor-intensive election season but Stein is entitled to a recount under state law.

The deadline for requesting a recount in Pennsylvania is Monday, while Michigan's is Wednesday.