After the 2016 election Jill Stein began collecting donations for recount efforts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Last I read she was somewhere in the 7-10 million dollar range. All three of those states' recount efforts have been ended at various stages now.

What happens to all the money Stein raised? Was it all spent? If not, where will it go?


3 Answers 3


Jill Stein did state on her recount site that:

If we raise more than what's needed, the surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform. This is what we did with our surplus in 2004.

In the recount FAQs page, it states:

How will you use surplus funds? If we raise more than what's needed, the surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform. As I said in a recent Cosmopolitan magazine Q&A:

"...Money is all raised and deposited into a dedicated and segregated account. The donor list, by the way, will be made public by the Federal Election Commission and that will happen this week. The rules for donations are basically the same rules that we used to fundraise with as a political campaign: that is a maximum donation of $2,700. However, we know that the average donation is approximately $47 or $48 and that there have been over 150,000 donors.

If by some miracle there was money leftover, that money would be appropriated according to FEC guidelines, and the options, as I understand it, would be refunding the money or making a decision as to how to continue supporting election integrity efforts that can carry on the work of this campaign. And if that were to happen, what we would be actually very excited about doing is having every contributor vote on a set of options for exactly how that money would be spent so that it could be a participatory democratic process whereby the donors decide and we would use a voting system that we think should be used all the time—you rank your choices and that way we could come up with one or more options for exactly who those funds will be spent according to the wishes of the donors."

Please read a more complete description of the process here.

So, this's what she states. However, there have been people who called it a "scam", notably President-elect Donald Trump.

Some articles to check out:

  • 2
    Is there any way to verify what she says? Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 2:17
  • @DavidGrinberg Might be too early at this point, recount effort just ended since Wisconsin completed it's recount earlier in the day
    – Panda
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 2:18

If not, where will it go?

She's got a page explaining this: http://www.jill2016.com/recount_surplus

Any surplus funds will be donated to electoral reform organizations, and the amount of money that goes to each will be decided by the people who donated using an STV election.

1) We will send out a poll to each recount donor, asked them to participate in a Ranked Choice Voting process, to choose the recipients of surplus funds.

2) Donors will rank organizations in their order of preference (1st choice, 2nd choice and so on).

3) We will want to donate to multiple organizations.


After #Recount2016, Jill Stein would like to continue that history of donating to organizations that fight for voting justice every day, year round.

(Hopefully there will be some organizations in the list that don't promote IRV. :/)


The Green Party 2016 recount page states it has to date raised $7.3 million dollars, and provides a budget showing estimated expenses:

Here are the estimated expenses for the recount campaign:

State filing fees: up to $5.5 million
- $3.5 million in WI
- approx. $1 million in MI**
- approx. $130K in PA and rising (charged by county)

Legal fees: over $1.5 million so far and rising, could go up to $3 million

Operational costs (organizers, observers, office costs, campaign staff): approx. $500K so far and rising

Media Relations/Outreach/Communications: $150K and rising, could go up to $300K

The total cost is likely to be $9-10 million.

Since $7.3M < $9M it seems unlikely any funds would be left over.

  • 3
    Wonder why one would need media relations during a recount.
    – user9790
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 12:05
  • 4
    @KDog Probably because the people opposing the recount also have a media relations budget line.
    – user5155
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 15:38
  • 2
    @KDog, a grassroots recount campaign requires publicity. Ironically, both the quote above and the quote in Panda's answer were published on the GP website, which probably cost money to pay people to write and edit it, and keep it online. Both answers to this question (to date) would therefore be impossible without that Communications budget item.
    – agc
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 7:56
  • 2
    @agc there is zero evidence that Stein's recount was grassroots in nature.
    – user9790
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 13:07
  • 4
    @KDog, my usage of the adjective 'grassroots' refers to the GP's fundraising methods, with 161K separate persons donating about $50 each. "Getting the word out" to prospective donors of course requires publicity.
    – agc
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 17:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .