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Efforts to Make a Recount of the Ballots in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania



A typical low information voter.

Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee in the recent presidential election, is pushing an effort to get recounts in the following three states: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.  The total by which Hillary lost in those three states is less than 100,000 votes altogether, which probably explains why she is concentrating on those three.  Her initial effort, to bankroll the attempt in Michigan, netted over $2,000,000 in initial funding.  She raised the bar after seeing how quickly she reached $2 million, and as of the last writing, she was already up to $4.3 million.  The other two states will follow, as the deadlines for filing a recount request are later.    You can read the details of her attempt on NBC, here.  By the way, the recount requests are not required to state a reason, so she need not allege any wrongdoing to get the recounts.

Trump won Michigan by about 9,500 votes, Wisconsin by 22,500 votes and Pennsylvania by 69,700.

The first column is Hillary votes, the second Donald votes, the third Jill Stein votes, and the following columns are percentages for each and the changes in counts.  The most important number is the last, which is the “margin shift” or the percentage loss in Democratic votes from 2012:

Michigan*  2,268,839 2,279,543 250,902 47.3% 47.5% 5.2% 9.5% -0.2% -9.7%


Wisconsin 1,381,823 1,404,000 189,490 46.4% 47.2% 6.4% 6.9% -0.7%  -7.7%


Pennsylvania 2,875,952 2,944,123 214,571 47.7% 48.8%  3.6% 5.4% -1.1% -6.5%


Note that in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Hillary received a large percentage fewer votes than Obama did in 2012.  The same holds true for several other states, which I will discuss further below.  A spreadsheet showing the running totals is here, in google docs.

In the total vote count, Hillary saw a margin shift of -2.1%, but in 13 swing shifts, her margins went down by -5.4%, and certain states were significantly worse.  In Arizona, which Hillary lost, she actually showed an improvement: her losing margin went up by 5.4%, meaning she gained that many votes.  In Iowa, she lost -15.2% and lost the state where Obama had won by 5.8%.  In Maine, which she won, there was a -12.6% shift.  In Ohio, there was a -10.9% shift and she lost the state where Obama had won.  New Hampshire showed a -5.2% shift, but she still won.

These dramatic losses compared to Obama’s 2012 showing are interesting in themselves, but combined with the fact that 1.1 % fewer people voted in Iowa compared to 2012, 2.1% fewer in Ohio, and 3.0% fewer in Wisconsin, they are striking.  There was a 4.3% increase in voters in the nation overall, and there were comparable shifts in the 13 swing states overall, but there were dramatic shifts in the number of people voting in some states. These changes can be explained in part by the number of people living in the state, as shown by census data.  For example, a 10.9% increase in voters in Nevada is explained by population shifts, but some of the losses in voters are not explained so easily.

I haven’t time today to make a direct comparison between census population changes and changes in the number of voters state by state, but tomorrow I will attempt to compile that data.  There are some odd differences that stick out immediately, for example in North Dakota there was a 6.6% increase in voters even though the state has lost population over the same period.

These changes in votes between the Barack Obama campaign in 2012 and Hillary’s campaign in 2016 represent losses related to propaganda by the Donald campaign and their sympathizers.  The propaganda put out by Donald at his rallies and such low-information magazines as The Enquirer (which gave prominent front page coverage to every unsubstantiated rumor that could damage Hillary and even demanded her imprisonment) was vicious and covered the places where most people who do not read or study news would see them.

There is little doubt that Hillary’s losses are real; most election observers think that it would be very difficult to alter the votes registered by the voting machines by hacking or other ulterior means.  The problem is simply that Democratic voters failed to come to the polls, and Donald’s voters showed up en masse.

Nonetheless, the expense involved in recounting the votes is relatively small, and there is one person who could easily finance a recount: Donald.  The fact that he does not suggests that he has no incentive to do so, whether he thinks it is unnecessary or possibly dangerous.

In addition, the attitude that he takes towards a recount is a function of the fact that he has won the Electoral College; if he lost, he would certainly have financed immediate recounts wherever necessary.



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