President-elect Donald Trump has called efforts by the Green Party to force recounts in three swing states a "scam," as his former Democratic rival's campaign joined the recount efforts in the Midwestern swing state of Wisconsin.
"This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what [Green Party leader] Jill Stein is doing," Trump said in a statement about the recount.
Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign has announced it will participate in the vote recount initiated by the Green Party in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin.
Clinton election campaign lawyer Marc Elias said Saturday in a post on Medium.com that the decision to join the Wisconsin recount came after the Clinton campaign received hundreds of requests to do so. Elias acknowledged that the requests prompted the campaign to quietly start investigating whether there was any "outside interference" in the November 8 election results.
Elias said the campaign would also take part in recounts in the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania if those recounts were arranged.
Trump's surprising presidential election win over Clinton, Stein and other candidates was propelled in large part by very narrow victories in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Trump won those three states with a mere 107,000 votes.
Elias said no "actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology" had been found. But because of the slim margin of victory, coupled with apparent foreign interference in the presidential campaign, a decision was made to rule out outside involvement.
There were concerns that Russian hackers might try to influence the election, particularly after they successfully hacked into the computers of the Democratic National Committee and tried to hack voter registration databases. Researchers who investigated the cyberattacks concluded that Russians had created and disseminated fake news about the election, apparently to try to help the Trump campaign.
Stein filed a petition Friday to request a vote recount in Wisconsin, one of three recounts she is seeking in states won by Trump.
Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas said Stein, and one other group, filed the request at midafternoon, shortly before the 5 p.m. CST (2330 UTC) deadline.
A post on Stein's campaign website called the voting machines used in Wisconsin "highly vulnerable to hacking and malicious programming" and said the machines lacked any security features.
The state must complete the recount by a federal deadline of December 13.
Most funds raised
Earlier Friday, Stein posted on her website that supporters had raised $5 million for the recount effort and associated costs in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. She said the total cost for all three recounts would be up to $7 million.
"Now that we have completed funding Wisconsin's recount ... and funding Pennsylvania's recount [due Monday], we will focus on raising the needed funds for Michigan's recount [due Wednesday]," the website said.
Stein stands to gain little from a recount, having won about 1 percent of the popular vote.
The statement on Stein's website said the recount effort wasn't meant to help Clinton. Rather, the website said the move "is about protecting our democracy."
Experts have said there is virtually no chance the election results will be overturned. But with Clinton's lead in the popular vote now exceeding 2 million, the recounts could heighten the debate over the legitimacy of Trump's election victory.
U.S. presidential elections are not decided by a national popular vote. Instead, they are decided by individual races in the 50 states, with each state's importance in the overall outcome weighted by its population. Winning presidential candidates have to amass a majority of 270 votes in the 538-member Electoral College based on the state-by-state results.