I could cite many reasons to “fuhgeddaboud” the recount, but I will focus on the facts.
[Source: Recounts Rarely Reverse Election Results, by Carl Bialik]
As every one of my readers knows, the Wisconsin vote in the presidential election is being recounted. Possibly this will happen in Michigan and Pennsylvania as well.
So is Jill Stein going to be our next president instead of Donald Trump? Clearly the answer is, “No.” Will Hillary Clinton reverse the decision? Could the recounts possibly change the outcome in any of these three states? Out of 4,687 statewide general elections between 2000 and 2015, just 27 were followed by recounts, according to data compiled by Fairvote, a nonpartisan group that researches elections and promotes electoral reform. Just three of those 27 recounts resulted in a change in the outcome.
In percentage terms, the average swing was 0.2 percentage points. If Clinton managed to get this kind of turnaround she could potentially win Michigan. However, the other two states would remain in Trump’s column. Therefore the change would not swing the Electoral College vote (Clinton still would be 22 electoral votes short).
The reason so few recounts change results (0.006%) is that it is highly unlikely that recounting votes will change the margin by an amount that would be large enough to affect the result. The mean swing between the top two candidates in the 27 recounts was 282 votes, with a median of 219.
The biggest swing came in Florida’s 2000 presidential election recount, when Al Gore cut 1,247 votes off George W. Bush’s lead. But, of course, that didn’t swing the election over to Al Gore. Despite the Supreme Court decision many organizations continued to count “hanging chads” and discovered that Bush truly did win Florida in 2000. That “biggest swing of 1247 votes” would have to increase significantly. Trump leads by some 71,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a little more than 20,000 in Wisconsin, and by nearly 11,000 in Michigan. That “biggest swing” would have to increase by 900% for Clinton to take even Michigan!
Citing data from recent recounts, Marc Elias, general counsel for the Hillary Clinton campaign, already has stated that “the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount.”