The latest update in Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s pointless and legally baseless Michigan recount effort:
After two days of ballot counting, conflicting court decisions and legal wranglings between frustrated lawyers, a federal judge on Wednesday halted the hand recount of 4.8 million ballots cast for president in Michigan, concluding there’s no real evidence of foul play and there’s no valid reason to continue the recount.
In his eight-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said “there is no basis” for him to ignore a state court ruling that said the recount should never had started. He was referring to the Michigan Court of Appeals 3-0 ruling, which said that Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, who requested the recount, never had a shot at winning with her fourth-place finish and 1% of the vote, and therefore was not an aggrieved candidate.
The judge also notes that Stein never had any evidence to support her voting machine hacking claims, just speculation.
“To date, plaintiffs have not presented evidence of tampering or mistake. Instead, they present speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery — but not actual injury,” Goldsmith wrote, adding the potential for fraud is not enough to continue to allow the recount to proceed.
Confusion continues in the Michigan recount mess as dueling state and federal rulings ensure a return to court over the pointless process:
The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Board of State Canvassers never should have allowed a recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein to proceed, because she has no chance to overturn the result of the presidential election in her favor and is not an aggrieved candidate.
The panel ordered the board to “reject the Nov. 30, 2016 petition of candidate Stein that precipitated the current recount process.”
The ruling came out almost simultaneously with a 2-1 order from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith’s Monday order that the recount must get under way at noon that day, which it did.
Meanwhile, dozens of precincts are unrecountable, ineligible for recount under state law because the number of voters who cast ballots and the number of ballots found in the ballot box on election night don’t match (a separate issue that does warrant review). That means the election night counts will stand for those precincts, according to Michigan’s State Director of Elections Chis Thomas.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s requested hand recount of about 4.8 million presidential ballots continues as the Michigan Republican Party filed a notice of appeal Monday afternoon with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the recount.
Attorney Gary Gordon argued Sunday on behalf of the Michigan GOP that “Stein had no chance of overturning the election results — Stein finished a distant 4th in Michigan to Republican president-elect Donald Trump — her concerns about votes not being counted properly were merely speculative, and the recount would result in excessive costs for Michigan taxpayers.”
But U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled that Stein demonstrated “a credible threat that the recount, if delayed, would not be completed” by a December 13 federal deadline and ordered the recount to begin Monday rather than after a two-day waiting period as required by Michigan law.
The Wisconsin recount may have a surprise in store after all. Actually, it’s not a “surprise” to anyone with ballot-counting experience:
Thanks to the efforts of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a recount is underway in Wisconsin. It is highly unlikely to change the outcome — as Hillary Clinton’s campaign has stated — but it is much more likely to overturn some conventional wisdom about counting votes. In particular, we may learn, yet again, that computers are better than humans at counting ballots.
Granting the request of Green Party candidate Jill Stein, a federal judge ordered Michigan to start a recount today of presidential ballots and to “assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours” to complete the recount by a December 13 federal deadline.
Stein and the Green Party are also suing for recounts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, suggesting with no evidence whatsoever that voting machines in all three states may have been the target of some type of vote-tampering cyberattack.
As the Michigan Republican Party’s attorney Gary Gordon pointed out, “Michigan’s voting machines are not connected to the Internet and are secured in such a way that ‘the gremlins and the Martians and the Russian hackers’ can’t get to them.”
Yet Stein seems mystified why 75,000 Michigan ballots included no vote for president and declares it must be hacking.
Despite raising a reported $7 million for recount efforts, most of the estimated $5 million cost of the recount, minus the $973,250 recount petition fee Stein paid, will be borne by Michigan taxpayers.
Meanwhile, the Michigan Legislature in its lame duck session is considering genuine efforts to increase the security of the state’s elections by strengthening voter ID requirements.