Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s popular vote lead has continuously increased since Election Day, surpassing 2 million on Wednesday.
As Clinton’s lead increases so are angry Democrats’ calls for authorities to audit election night results in a number of Midwestern states where Donald Trump narrowly pulled out a win. The movement is known as “Audit the Vote,” and it is asking the Department of Justice to check vote totals in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the states that propelled Trump to an Electoral College victory and without which Hillary Clinton would be the victor.
To be sure, Clinton’s climbing popular vote does not mean anything in terms of the election as ultimately, the Electoral College vote, which is largely influenced by the state by state vote, is the number that determines who is the next president. However, the increasing lead is fueling the call for officials to take a closer vote at the ‘Rust Belt’ states which ultimately decide the election.
Change.org has started a petition entitled “Demand an Audit of the 2016 Presidential Election,” which as of Wednesday afternoon had received almost 170,000 signatures. A petition launched by the nonprofit group Verified Voting Foundation raises questions over whether hackers, likely originating in Russia, “interfered with our presidential election.”
Lending them support are findings from a prominent group of election lawyers and computer scientists who claim election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin may have been hacked or otherwise manipulated or compromised.
And then, there is Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, who on Wednesday launched a campaign to seek a recount in those three states with a goal of raising $2.5 million for the project. As of 9:50 p.m. central, the campaign had raised over $1.8 million.
A recount does remain a longshot as in order to actually tilt the election to Mrs. Clinton, she would need all three Rust Belt states. While a recount may turn the numbers in Michigan where Trump and Clinton are separated by just 11,000 votes, it is much less likely to close the gap sufficiently in Wisconsin where Trump leads by 27,000 votes, and even more unlikely in Pennsylvania where Trump is ahead by more than 70,000.