What started off as the Clinton campaign offering some “people” to assist in Jill Stein’s recount affair has now morphed into a volunteer-recruting effort. The Hillary website now features a signup form if you’d like to help with the recount, specifically in Michigan.
Report from The Hill:
The Hillary Clinton campaign is looking for volunteers to help with recounts in two states.
New signup forms on HillaryClinton.com ask for volunteers in Michigan and Wisconsin.
“Help with the Michigan recount. Let us know if you want to get involved,” one page reads.
The website doesn’t offer any information about what volunteers would do.
A lawyer for the Clinton campaign said last week they would join in on the recount effort launched by Jill Stein of the Green Party in the swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
While the Michigan effort is staffing up, the Wisconsin recount is set to begin today, according to Fortune:
The first candidate-driven statewide recount of a presidential election in 16 years was set to begin Thursday in Wisconsin, a state that Donald Trump won by less than a percentage point over Hillary Clinton after polls long predicted a Clinton victory.
The recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein carries none of the drama of the Florida presidential recount of 2000, when the outcome of the election between Al Gore and George W. Bush hung in the balance. Almost no one expects Stein’s push for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to result in a Clinton victory over Trump.
“This is certainly not Bush v. Gore,” said Wisconsin’s chief elections administrator Mike Haas.
But still, county election officials across Wisconsin were hiring temporary workers, expanding hours and dusting off recount manuals to prepare for the work of retabulating nearly 3 million ballots.
Most counties will manually recount the ballots, although Stein lost a court challenge this week to force hand recounts everywhere.
As noted, Stein was pushing for a mandatory hand recount in every Wisconsin precinct. A judge nixed that idea so precincts will conduct the recounts however they see fit, meaning that scan ballots can simply be run through scanning machines again as opposed to examining each ballot by hand.
The effort will assuredly end with no changes to the election outcome, but will likely generate significant improvement to the name recognition and bank account of the Jill Stein campaign. One analysis of the situation explains how Stein could stand to profit millions from amassing a database of volunteers and donors toward the recall effort:
Stein is the owner of the name, contact and credit card information of each and every individual who donates to the #Recount2016 cause. And while at first glance it may appear a trivial detail, in the political realm, it’s gold. Not only can she use them for future fundraising efforts of her own, but she can also rent out the emails gathered for thousands and even millions of dollars.
“She’s collected tens of thousands of high-quality donor emails, and many of those folks will continue to give and give over and over again if her campaign asks,” said Kenneth Pennington, former national digital director of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
An average, fresh email address is generally worth $5 to $10, but donor emails can easily be valued at $20 to $30, said Vincent Harris, a Texas-based digital strategist who worked for Rand Paul, Newt Gingrich and Ted Cruz, among others.
The Stein recount campaign has received donations from nearly 140,000 individuals. Taking that into account, a conservative calculation puts the list Stein is now in possession of at $2.8 million. Harris estimated she could command a fee of $50,000 to $75,000 for a one-time blast. [Emphasis added]
So, at the heart of this effort could be the cash reward at the end, or it could be a noble venture trying to ensure electoral integrity. I expect the truth lands somewhere as a mixture of both. Stein unarguably knows the outcome won’t change, but she also knows that she’s gotten more press and attention since Election Day than the entire year preceding it.
For the Clinton campaign, perhaps its a way to toss supporters a bone, or maybe a way to also cash in on the donor and volunteer list bonanza. Whatever the circumstance, as Hillary famously said, “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”