Green Party raises $3.5 million for presidential vote recounts
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Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein speaks at a campaign rally in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
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By Brendan O'Brien
MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said on Thursday she has raised $3.5 million to force recounts of the Nov. 8 election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three states where Donald Trump scored narrow wins.
The campaign said it exceeded its initial goal for raising $2.5 million and has enough money to pay Wisconsin's $1.1 million filing fee due on Friday. At the same time, the party said it raised its target to $4.5 million, with filing deadlines approaching in Pennsylvania on Monday and Michigan on Wednesday.
Stein is pushing for recounts because experts pointed to statistical anomalies in the tallies in all three battleground states, according to the party's website.
Trump, a Republican who ran as an anti-establishment maverick, carried all three states by narrow margins despite public opinion polls pointing to victories by Hillary Clinton, the Democratic standard-bearer.
"We deserve elections we can trust," the campaign said, adding that the effort was not intended to help Clinton.
A representative of the president-elect's transition team could not be reached for comment.
But Kellyanne Conway, a senior Trump adviser, suggested that efforts to force recounts were ironic, given harsh criticism of Trump before the election when he would not say whether he would accept the result of what he called a "rigged" political system.
"Look who can't accept the election results," Conway said in a Twitter message, pointing to a headline in the New York Times that read "Hillary Clinton Supporters Call for Vote Recount in Battleground States."
Although Clinton won more votes than Trump on a nationwide basis, the real estate developer exceeded the number of votes in the Electoral College needed to take the presidency. Electoral votes are apportioned state by state, mostly on a winner-take-all basis.
Stein took a little more than 1 percent of the popular vote, while Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson came in third place behind Trump and Clinton.
Stein's website said that the total cost of recounts in the three states was $6 million to $7 million, but it did not explain why the campaign's new target was only $4.5 million.
(Additional reporting by Frank McGurty in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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