Jill Stein Discusses Recount Efforts Her Campaign Has Undertaken
LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:
President-elect Donald Trump is far along in his preparations to take over the White House. He won 20 more electoral votes than the 270 he needed to be president of the United States. But a lot of people are still talking about the popular vote, which Hillary Clinton won nationwide. As of Friday night, the margin of Clinton's popular vote victory increased to more than 2 million. In the midst of all this, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is back in the spotlight after her failed presidential run.
In Wisconsin, Jill Stein has successfully requested a recount there, and she's also pushing for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania saying, she doesn't trust the voting systems. We should note that there has been no evidence that results have been tampered with. We spoke with Dr. Jill Stein earlier today before news that the Hillary Clinton campaign had decided to also participate in the recount. We'll get to that in a few minutes. We reached Dr. Stein in her home in the Boston area, and I asked her why she decided to ask for these recounts.
JILL STEIN: Throughout the election actually, I was often asked this question because the Greens have led recount efforts before, for example, in Ohio in 2004. And I've - every time I was asked I said yes, absolutely. If there are concerns about the security and the credibility of our votes, absolutely, I would be willing to call for that recount no matter who was the winner of the election.
SINGH: Some are asking what is your goal in this - given Hillary Clinton is the candidate who stands to benefit from your effort - is that your goal - to essentially get Hillary Clinton elected?
STEIN: Well, as I was very clear throughout the past year and a half, I do not favor one candidate over the other among the establishment candidates. You know, it's not just what was the vote count for Democrats and Republicans? It's also a question of what was the vote count for Greens and for Libertarians? We want to know that the votes for Green candidates are getting counted accurately as are the votes for other candidates.
SINGH: Well, Dr. Stein, as we recall, Donald Trump asserted repeatedly that he believed that the entire system was rigged. So I'm wondering if the scenarios had been switched and we saw that it was Donald Trump who was leading in popular votes, would you have launched a similar request for a recount in Wisconsin and Michigan, perhaps, and Pennsylvania?
STEIN: Yes, I would have because the security experts and researchers have told us for quite some time that we have a voting system which is essentially an invitation to tampering, to hacking and to human error.
SINGH: You know, I'm sure you heard a lot of folks also say there wouldn't be as much confusion now with respect to electoral votes had you chosen to back out of the race. Do you feel any sense of guilt or perhaps remorse for the way that this election has turned out?
STEIN: The numbers show very clearly that not in a single state would the election have turned out differently because when you take away 60 percent of Greens who would not have voted had we not had a candidate, plus many Greens whose votes would have gone to Donald Trump, the advantage to Hillary Clinton was minute. So in fact, you know, I'd say think about it for a minute. Is the solution to a compromised democracy less democracy? Is the solution to silence the voices of political opposition to have just two state-approved political parties from the establishment? No.
SINGH: But at the end of the day, what do you gain from this? Is this a good thing for you? Is she considered the lesser of the two evils to you?
STEIN: In my view, this is not likely at all to change the outcome, and that's what the computer and voting security experts say as well. They are not expecting the outcome to change here. But it's the voters who benefit by standing up and saying we deserve a voting system that is secure in which we know our votes are being counted and our votes are being respected.
SINGH: Some Republicans are criticizing this recount effort, though, saying that you're adding confusion and turmoil to what should be a peaceful transition process. What do you say to that?
STEIN: I think it's hardly been a peaceful transition process. You know, people are out in the streets. And it was hardly a peaceful election. I think it's a symptom of a political system under meltdown.
SINGH: That is Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate. She has raised more than $5 million to demand presidential vote recounts in three close states. Dr. Stein, thanks for joining us.
STEIN: Great to be with you, Lakshmi. Have a good weekend. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.