For Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 13 2016
With Multi-State Presidential Recount Over, Stein Campaign Ends Fundraising Drive
Historic Push Raises Over $7.3 Million from 161,000 Small Donors in Under Three Weeks;
Average Donation of $45
(New York, NY) – The Stein campaign announced this morning that it has ended a historic two and a half-week fundraising drive that paid for presidential recount efforts in three states: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The grassroots push raised an approximate total of $7.33 million from nearly 161,300 donors across the nation, representing the largest-ever people-powered effort to verify the vote of a presidential election in American history. The average donation was $45.43, with roughly three-quarters of all donations under $100.
Since administrative matters related to the recounts are ongoing, final costs of the vote counts are still pending. However, the Stein campaign has said that it expects to have money left over, the exact amount of which will be determined by the amount of money credited back to the campaign by Michigan and, potentially, Wisconsin. In the event of a recount surplus, the campaign will ask the more than 161,000 small donors how they want to spend the remaining funds, and have pledged to allocate the money to a set of non-partisan election reform and voting rights organizations based on the results of an online, ranked choice vote. The final list of non-partisan organizations who could receive the left over funds will be made public on Stein’s website in the coming weeks, when the survey of donors is launched.
“Thanks to over 161,000 donors and support from more than 10,000 volunteers, this historic recount pushed forward in three states, defying every political blocking tactic and clearing every bureaucratic and financial hurdle,” said Dr. Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party candidate for president. “It was an amazing affirmation of the power of the American people to have a voice in their voting system and demand elections with integrity. By revealing serious problems about our voting systems, out of date laws and recount procedures in three states, these recounts were a resounding success. Our efforts have shined a light on the urgent need for reforms to our electoral system, to election laws and to recount procedures. We look forward to continuing our work to make those reforms a reality. The fight for civil and constitutional rights of all Americans goes on today – stronger than ever before.”
Every dollar spent from the $7.3 million raised has been used to pay for costs associated with the recounts, which currently total $7,435,471. Current estimates of the cost breakdown is as follows:
||PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL|
|State filing fees:||$4,488,939||60%|
|Legal expenses for recount:||$1,630,200||22%|
|Legal expenses for ongoing litigation:||$150,000||2%|
|Payments to recount observers & volunteer costs:||$86,214||1%|
(E.g. election experts, communications support)
(E.g. office and travel costs and donation processing fees)
*Note: the Stein campaign's initial fundraising target for PA was $500,000, which covered requisite filing fees and associated notary costs. The actual number, however, was lowered due to Pennsylvania’s bottom-up process, which required 27,000 voters in 9,000-plus precincts to submit official, notarized petitions to county boards, in time for shifting, divergent and secret deadlines known, in order to start a statewide recount.
Funds for the recount were raised by the Stein Campaign for President and held in a separate, dedicated bank account, separate from Stein’s Presidential campaign treasury, in accordance with FEC guidelines. Election law requires the recount committee to disclose donor contributions in FEC filings, which the Stein campaign has done, labeling the election period as “Other – Recount.” The Stein’s campaign’s most recent FEC filing is available on the FEC’s website and lists expenses through November 28, 2016, as well as all donors who gave a total of $200 or more. The next filing, which will be made in early January, will list expenses and donations of $200 or above from November 28, 2016, through the end of the year.
When the campaign’s initial fundraising target for each of the states was launched on November 23, the goal of $2.5 million was set to cover the Wisconsin recount only, including filing fees and associated legal costs. After seeing an unprecedented outpouring of support, the campaign raised the fundraising total to $7 million in order to pay for recounts in all three states based on estimates provided by state officials. The total was raised to $9.5M only after the Wisconsin Elections Commission suddenly and unexpectedly increased the fee for the recount by $2.4 million on November 28.
While current costs associated with the recount are estimated to be larger than the amount of money raised thus far, the Stein campaign says that the figures for ongoing litigation ($150,000) and compliance costs ($150,000) are likely overestimated and will be revised down in the final total. The above cost breakdown does not account for filing fee refunds that the campaign expects from states, including Michigan, whose recount was shut down after just three days, with less than half of all votes counted; and potentially Wisconsin, which increased its anticipated costs statewide more than three-fold based off estimates from local officials.
Since the full statewide recount was not completed in Michigan, the Stein campaign expects to be credited back funds that were not used. The state of Michigan has yet to provide an estimate to the Stein campaign of how much money will be credited back. Any state filing fees that are refunded will be allocated to the organizations designated by the donors as part of the online survey described above.
“Throughout this whole process – from before fundraising began until now – our campaign has been fully transparent about our intention to demand recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan – and the costs associated with doing so, even as those costs have changed as a result of states’ demands” said David Cobb, the campaign manager for Jill Stein’s presidential bid and recount effort. “It’s regrettable that states, especially Wisconsin, dramatically increased the costs of what should have been a routine democratic process. But the people of this country were not deterred. And just as we have for decades, the Green Party will continue to be a voice for all Americans – whether on the streets, in the courthouse or at the ballot box.”