Philadelphia will recount ballots cast in 75 voting precincts on Friday, marking the first major success of Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s push to audit the state’s presidential election results. On Thursday, county election officials approved 75 of 82 voter petitions. In those precincts, voting machines will be recanvassed–essentially running them again to review the vote totals. An undetermined number of paper absentee, emergency and provisional ballots from those precincts will also be recounted. “It’s not a great number (of ballots),” Deputy Commissioner Fred Voigt said. “Keep in mind that something like 700,000 votes were cast in Philadelphia County. You’re talking (1,686) polling places. This is a speck.” Less than 5 percent of the county’s total precincts will be subject to the recount. According to Pennsylvania Department of State data, Hillary Clinton received 563,275 votes countywide compared to 105,876 for Donald Trump. Stein, meanwhile, received 6,486, slightly less than 1 percent of the total number cast.
Voigt said it’s entirely possible that the stakeholders involved could appeal the board’s decision or try to block the recount.
Stein’s camp has sought a forensic audit, in which a computer expert would examine the machines for signs of tampering. Republicans, meanwhile, sought to block the recount entirely. Neither got entirely what they wanted on Thursday.
“Presidential candidates are legally entitled to examine voting systems,” Stein campaign lawyer Ilann Maazel said, in a written statement. “It’s absolutely vital to thoroughly examine Philadelphia’s voting machines so voters can be sure their votes were counted.”