ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks later, the results of the 2016 election are making headlines again. But one word is throwing all of that into question tonight:
10News Political Reporter Mark Rivera is answering your questions about the presidential recount that's about to start:
RIVERA: OK, this is what you need to know about the recount in Wisconsin and the potential ones in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein have both said it has nothing to do with changing the results of the election and everything to do with protecting your vote.
We've been taking your questions on Facebook all day and the first big one: Will the recount change the results of the presidential election?
10News Political Expert Dr. Lars Hafner is weighing in on this discussion.
RIVERA: So Lars, if Wisconsin or Michigan -- maybe both of them -- flipped to Clinton, would she be President?
HAFNER: It's still would have to be all three Mark; in fact, that's what makes this so difficult. With Wisconsin being the first to go and with a 27,000 vote differential, even if they got to that plateau, the other states -- and especially Pennsylvania -- is a much higher bar. In order to change the election results, it would have to be all three states.
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RIVERA: And let's take a look at those numbers. As you said, Hillary Clinton is down to Donald Trump in Wisconsin by about 27,000 votes she's down to them in Michigan by about 12,000 votes and in Pennsylvania by 70,000 votes, so that is a big margin to overcome at this point, and you said she would need all three.
The second big question we've been taking from you on Facebook, if the recount isn't going to change the results of the election, what is it for?
HAFNER: Well there's a couple different reasons why this is going forward: One is to show the validity of the election to make sure there wasn't anything mischievous going on or through Russia hacking perhaps a state or two in the selection process.
RELATED STORY: Stein files for Wis. recount; what happens now?
But the bigger reason potentially could be: this makes Jill Stein and the Green Party relevant. We’re talking about her right now three weeks after the election. And the fact that she's gone online to raise money from small contributors really helps build a base for the Green party in the future. And by doing this, she's also forced Hillary Clinton's attorneys to sign on and go for this now too, because they cannot be left out of this process if something was to occur.
RIVERA: The third big question we took from you on Facebook today is what happens now?
In the last few hours, Wisconsin rejected Jill Stein's request for a hand recount.
RELATED STORY: Trump wins Michigan's 16 electoral votes, state board says
Unless Stein wins her lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court, officials in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties would decide on their own whether to do their recounts by hand. That could mean some counties perform recounts by machine and some by hand.
HAFNER: They're up against it because there's another deadline in Wisconsin that says that they have to have it done by December 13.
RIVERA: And let's get to the timeline right now and we have it for you right here busting out the old white board for this one – today they're getting that cost estimate. It's probably going to cost about $1 million to count all of the votes by hand in Wisconsin. Tomorrow, Jill Stein is going to pay that $1 million to get it going. On Wednesday, the election staff is going to outline the rules involved in this and on Thursday the recount begins. That Wisconsin deadline is December 13. But the U.S. deadline for the electoral college for voting is December 19; so we are up against a hard deadline.
HAFNER: And that's what the Stein campaign is up against; also, in Michigan and Pennsylvania. If they try for recounts, that's the hard deadline -- December 19 -- for the electoral college. That's where the rubber hits the road where we elect the next President of United States.