After much money and time spent by taxpayers and government employees — lining the pockets of Green Party candidate Jill Stein and lawyers alike — it appears the Michigan recount may be finally coming to an end. This, after a federal judge called out Stein for lacking standing as an aggrieved candidate — since she didn’t even come close to winning — and failing to have any evidence of fraud on which to base a recount request.
As The Detroit News reports:
A federal judge Wednesday suspended a recount of the Nov. 8 presidential election that started three days ago and has yet to reveal fraud or significantly alter the results.
The manual statewide recount cost as much as $3 million but ended after U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith lifted a temporary restraining order preventing state officials from stopping a recount prompted by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
The recount triggered legal battles in state and federal courts and contrasting orders about whether Stein was qualified to request a recount considering she had no chance of winning the presidential election. President-elect Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes, 47.5 percent to 47.3 percent, while Stein finished fourth with 51,463 votes or 1.1 percent.
Instead, Stein framed the recount as a quest to test the integrity of Michigan’s voting system and determine whether voters were disenfranchised due to possibly hacked voting machines or fraud.
Stein failed to show she was an aggrieved candidate as defined by state law and entitled to a recount, the judge said. He concluded Stein’s request to test the election system’s vulnerability to fraud lacked evidence.
“The vulnerability of our system of voting poses the threat of a potentially devastating attack on the integrity of our election system,” Goldsmith wrote.
“But invoking a court’s aid to remedy that problem in the manner plaintiffs have chosen — seeking a recount as an audit of the election to test whether the vulnerability led to actual compromise of the voting system — has never been endorsed by any court, and would require, at a minimum, evidence of significant fraud or mistake — and not speculative fear of them. Such evidence has not been presented here.”
The recount resulted in minor changes in vote totals for the candidates while also exposing issues with precincts that couldn’t be recounted because of improperly secured ballot boxes or vote counts in the boxes that didn’t match election records.
The recount, opposed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and the state Republican Party, started Monday and was scheduled to continue in more than 30 counties Thursday.
The Board of State Canvassers has a 9:30 a.m. meeting Thursday when they could permanently end the recount. The order was designed to prevent election workers from starting to recount ballots Thursday morning if there’s a likelihood that the board will vote to end the recount altogether.
The judge’s order came one day after a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered the Board of State Canvassers to reconsider and reject Stein’s recount petition on grounds that it was unlawful.
A lawyer for state Attorney General Bill Schuette summed up the situation nicely to the judge who ultimately decided this case:
“You would be the first federal court in history to order a recount for a candidate who lost by more than 2 million votes,” lawyer John Bursch said.
Stein has a “zero, and I do mean zero, likelihood of succeeding on the merits,” Bursch said.
Why again was she ever allowed to get even this far with her shenanigans?
Meanwhile, recount efforts continue in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and — here’s one you might not have heard about — Nevada. As ABC News reports, in Wisconsin, the recount is more than 70 percent complete — and Clinton has gained just 82 votes on Trump, who won the state by more than 22,000 votes.
In Pennsylvania, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond in Philadelphia on Tuesday scheduled a hearing Friday on the request for a recount. The GOP and Trump warn the case threatens Pennsylvania’s ability to certify its election before the Dec. 13 federal deadline. In the meantime, in the local recount efforts underway, Hillary has gained a whopping five votes in the Philadelphia area, thanks to the recount — but only due to the recount efforts counting ballots her supporters had failed to properly fill out in the first place.
And in Nevada, a partial recount is underway in Nevada at the request of De La Fuente, who finished last with a fraction of 1 percent of the vote. He paid about $14,000 for the recount to provide what he called a counterbalance to the recounts sought by Stein. If the sample shows a discrepancy of at least 1 percent for De La Fuente or Clinton, a full recount will be launched in all 17 Nevada counties. Clinton defeated Trump in Nevada by 27,202 votes, out of 1.1 million votes cast. Nevada Secretary of State spokeswoman Gail Anderson said the recount will be finished by the end of this week.
Again, none of these efforts stand a chance of changing the ultimate outcome of the election: Donald J. Trump is the president-elect. Jill Stein calls Pennsylvania’s election system “a national disgrace” — but, really, who and what really are the national disgrace in this scenario?
[This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]