• Politics

What You Need to Know About the Wisconsin Recount

4 minute read
Updated: | Originally published: ;

The Wisconsin State Board of Elections has decided to move forward with a recount effort pushed by 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein. As deadlines loom in Pennsylvania and Michigan, Stein continued her push for battleground recounts on Monday.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign came out in support of the recount efforts on Saturday, though Clinton’s general counsel Marc Elias wrote in a Medium post that it doesn’t expect the outcome of the election to change as a result.

“Regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself,” Elias wrote.

The calls for a recount have apparently frustrated President-elect Donald Trump, who took to Twitter over the weekend to denounce the efforts and recall earlier statements by Clinton that she would accept the outcome of the 2016 presidential election regardless of the winner.

For reference, here’s a breakdown of what’s going on and how we got here:

Who asked for the recount?

Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

After claims that Russian hackers had been making attempts throughout the 2016 cycle to undermine the U.S. presidential election, some security experts argued the only way to guarantee nothing occurred would be to manually check the paper ballots. A Medium post by J. Alexander Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan, noted that officials had been in touch with the campaign about calling for a recount in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts,” he wrote.

In response, Stein launched a campaign to fund recounts in the three states. To date, the Recount 2016 campaign has raised over $6 million.

What exactly are officials recounting?

Ballots. In order to ensure that the vote was not tampered with by foreign agents, which many say is unlikely, experts have suggested a full recount of paper ballots in the states in question.

Wisconsin officials have already agreed to the recount and officials in other states are said to be preparing for potential recounts; deadlines for recount petitions hit early this week. In Wisconsin, however, staff at the Elections Commission have decided not to require that the recount be conducted by hand. Stein, who had requested a hand recount, has already said she plans to sue. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, if Stein loses her suit it will be up to the counties to decide; some could perform machine recounts while others may decide to count by hand.

Will it change the outcome?

No. Experts have said though the margins by which Trump won the vote in the battleground states are razor-thin, there likely is not enough discrepancy to change the outcome of the election, meaning Trump will be President regardless.

What is Clinton’s role?

Peripheral. The effort is being led by Stein, who is filing petitions and raising the money necessary to secure the recount in each state. Though Clinton officials have weighed in on some of Trump’s responses, insight into the Clinton camp’s thoughts on the recount was provided by Elias via Medium.

How did Trump respond?

Unhappily. Trump went on a Twitter rampage over the weekend, falsely claiming that there were millions of fraudulent votes cast and accusing Clinton of being a sore loser for joining Stein’s recount efforts. Trump also called Stein’s recount petitions a scam brought forward only to boost her standing in the political arena.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com