Local Green Party activist Matt Funiciello is defending Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s election recount effort.
Funiciello said although money for the recount may be coming from “individual angry Democrats,” Stein’s motive is to draw attention to voting irregularities, not to put Democrat Hillary Clinton in office.
“There is no love there. We are not trying to get Hillary elected,” he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
“Any inconsistencies that can be pointed out in a recount are of value. It’s the Green position that a full audit of every election that ever takes place should always be done,” he said.
Funiciello, who arranged for Stein to campaign in Glens Falls and Fort Edward in June, said the recount push is controversial, even among Green Party members.
“There has been divisiveness among the Greens about the recount nationally,” with some suggesting it is a symbolic alliance with Democrats, said Funiciello, the local Green Party candidate for Congress in 2014 and 2016.
Stein has raised money to force presidential election recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, states where Republican Donald Trump narrowly defeated Clinton.
Stein has suggested, without evidence, that votes cast were susceptible to computer hacking.
Funiciello said evidence of hacking is not necessary to make the case that it is possible, and that all states should use paper ballots and scanning devices, as New York does.
Separately, three central Florida residents have filed a lawsuit seeking a recount in Florida, which Trump won, and Reform Party presidential candidate Rocky De La Fuente’s campaign has paid for a recount in 93 precincts in Nevada, which Clinton won.
Trump has said Stein’s recount effort is a fundraising scheme.
“I think it has been entertaining to watch. I don’t think it has really shown anything,” said Ray Scollin, the state Republican Committee regional vice chairman for the 21st Congressional District.
Scollin said the recount shows liberals don’t recognize the national shift in voter attitude.
“I just don’t think there’s been any understanding, certainly by Hillary Clinton or the left, on why people are moving their political ideology to the right,” he said.
Warren County Democratic Chairwoman Lynne Boecher said Clinton staff are participating in the recount merely to monitor the process.
“There is no evidence of any tampering with those votes, and so it is what it is,” she said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
“I’m enormously disappointed with the results, but with that said, you accept them and you move forward,” she said.
Warren County Libertarian Party Chairman Adam Pensel said Stein’s recount effort appears to be about fundraising and publicity, but the motive is not necessarily wrong.
“Politically, I think it’s a pretty smart move on their part, taking advantage of some people who are upset about the way things happened and trying to capitalize on setting themselves up to have a larger base next election,” he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
Pensel said he doubts the recount will change the election outcome.
“I think we’re set where we are, and we need to find ways of improving our lives on the local level and go from there,” he said.
Funiciello said there’s no question the Green Party is looking to gain exposure and expand its donor base, as every political organization is.
“There is that element in everything we do. We’re a political party,” he said. “I think Jill’s guilty.”
Ideally, Stein would have also sought a recount in states that Clinton won, but there was not enough funding for that, he said.