MICHIGAN CAUGHT BETWEEN STATE AND FEDERAL COURT RULINGS
by Sharon Rondeau
Michigan’s attorney general, Bill Schuette, had told Fox News’s Neil Caputo on Monday that his office filed an appeal to a federal judge’s ruling ordering Michigan to begin recounting all votes by noon that day. Schuette maintained that the issue should be decided by a state court and not by federal intervention, adding that he believes the recount “violates the law.”
Recount efforts focusing on Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan were initiated by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein just after Thanksgiving, to which end Stein has raised over $7 million.
Wisconsin billed Stein $3.5 million, which she paid, but U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith’s order for Michigan to recount all 4.8 million votes cast will reportedly become the responsibility of the state’s taxpayers.
In Pennsylvania, on November 28, Stein encouraged her supporters to file affidavits requesting “recounts” in their districts based on their alleged belief that the voting machines used could have produced unreliable results. However, those efforts contradicted Pennsylvania election law, as has been presented in detail by Ren Jander, JD, on his blog.
Similarly, a “recanvass” of voting machines in certain precincts in Allegheny County took place on Monday, well after the statutory deadline. The rechecking of the machines yielded “no change” in the election results, according to Allegheny County Elections Division Manager Mark Wolosik on Monday.
Also on November 28, having been unable to effect a statewide recount in Pennsylvania, Stein’s attorneys filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg contesting the outcome of the election based on vague claims that voting machines could have been the targets of hackers.
A hearing had been scheduled for Monday for which Stein requested a three-day extension. However, in a dramatic development on Saturday evening, Stein withdrew the lawsuit and announced later that night that she would be filing suit in federal court instead.
Her case will be heard on Friday, according to the reports.
In a press conference in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan on Monday morning, Stein and her supporters alleged that “communities of color” and people legally barred from casting votes in the election had been “disenfranchised” in Pennsylvania. Stein also criticized Trump’s legal team for attempting to stop her recount efforts.
On her “recount” website, Stein had announced a 12:30 p.m. “rally and press conference” in Harrisburg for Monday.
In Wisconsin, recounts began on Thursday and have progressed, with virtually no change in votes cast for Donald Trump and Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Stein reportedly gained 27 votes following the fourth day of recounting.
In a more recent development last week, Reform Party presidential candidate Roque (Rocky) de la Fuente requested and paid for a partial recount in the state of Nevada, which Clinton won, to provide “a counterbalance to the recounts sought by Stein,” according to CBS News.
“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,” the AP reported of de la Fuente’s efforts.
Shortly after Stein announced her intention to secure recounts, the Clinton campaign said it would join in supporting the effort, with some later suggesting that Clinton was “colluding” with Stein after conceding the election to Trump.
Of the three states, Trump’s victory over Clinton was the narrowest in Michigan, where he reportedly won by .2%. The state court has indicated that Stein, who garnered approximately 1% of the vote in Michigan, may not having “standing” to force a recount.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal court, is now involved in the Michigan recount saga in addition to Goldsmith. Schuette has responded to the contradictory rulings of state and federal courts by preparing his own federal lawsuit.