On Monday afternoon, The Washington Post reported that President-elect Donald Trump was still the Wisconsin winner, following recount votes in that state. The recount confirms that Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by a small margin of 22,000 votes, according to The Post. The recount was initiated by Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who footed the bill for the recount efforts after raising over $7.3 million online.
The funds were intended for recounts in Wisconsin as well as Pennsylvania and Michigan. The end of Wisconsin's recount also marks the end of recount efforts in general — earlier on Monday, a Pennsylvania federal judge blocked recounts in that state, saying that Stein's assertions about possible voting machine tampering "borders on the irrational," according to CBS News. In Michigan, recounts were likewise blocked last week by a judge. At that point, ballots in 20 Michigan counties had already been recounted.
Reportedly, the Wisconsin recount yielded insignificant changes to the original 22,000 vote margin between Clinton and Trump, with Trump receiving an additional net of 162 votes after the nearly 3 million ballots were recounted. Additionally, there were no problems with voting machine hacking discovered during the recount, which had been stated by Stein as a potential concern.
Now that the recount effort is complete, many are commenting in retrospect on its messy, politicized nature. Theoretically, a recount should be a straightforward task assured in a fair and functioning democracy, yet various hurdles to Stein's effort were erected by partisan representatives, culminating mostly in the courts. As an article at The New York Times observed on Friday, "the legal fight was playing out in the three states, seemingly simultaneously, in nearly every level of state and federal courts, while partisan leaders held dueling news conferences."
The recount in Michigan was particularly illustrative. While lower courts and higher courts put forth efforts and counter-efforts to block the recount, the actual recount efforts continued with hiccups along the way. In Michigan, Trump had won by less than 11,000 of the state's 4.8 million votes. The Detroit Free Press reported that the necessity of recounting quickly revealed serious ills with Michigan's voting process: "In Michigan's recount, scores of precincts, primarily in Detroit, but also in other places, could not be recounted because the number of ballots didn't match the number of voters in poll books," the paper reported. "One precinct from Gibraltar couldn't be recounted because the ballot container was sealed with duct tape after the zipper broke and a replacement container couldn't be located."
All told, Trump won the three contested states by a combined margin of 75,000 votes. Clinton's lead in the national popular vote currently stands at 2.8 million.