HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) — The Green Party says it’s switching strategy in its bid to force a statewide recount of Pennsylvania’s Nov. 8 presidential election, won by Republican Donald Trump.
Hours after dropping a state court case, it said late Saturday night that it’ll go to federal court instead. A statement from the lead lawyer for the recount campaign says it’ll seek an emergency federal court order for the recount. It says barriers to a recount in Pennsylvania are pervasive and the state court system isn’t equipped to address the problem.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has spearheaded a recount effort in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states where Trump won narrowly over Democrat Hillary Clinton. She’s framed it as an effort to explore whether Pennsylvania’s election result was manipulated by hackers.
Trump and the Pennsylvania GOP have opposed the recount. Pennsylvania’s top elections official, a Democrat, says there’s no evidence of cyberattacks or voting irregularities.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin is the only state where a recount is underway. It began Thursday, and one of the state’s 72 counties had already completed its task by Friday, with Clinton gaining a single a vote on Trump. Clinton lost to Trump in Wisconsin by about 22,000 votes, or less than 1 percentage point.
Two pro-Trump groups, the Great America PAC and the Stop Hillary PAC, along with Wisconsin voter Ronald R. Johnson went to federal court late Thursday to try and stop the recount. U.S. District Judge James Peterson on Friday rejected their request for a temporary restraining order to immediately halt the recount, saying there was no harm in allowing it to continue while the court considers their lawsuit. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Dec. 9.
The lawsuit says Wisconsin is violating the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 Bush v. Gore ruling because it doesn’t have uniform standards to determine which votes should be counted in a recount. They also argue that it threatens due process rights because it may not get done by the federal deadline to certify the vote, putting Wisconsin’s electoral votes in jeopardy.
If states miss the deadline, Congress would allot their electoral votes.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice was reviewing the lawsuit, said Johnny Koremenos, spokesman for Attorney General Brad Schimel.
Michigan’s elections board deadlocked Friday on a Trump campaign request to deny Stein’s recount request and on how a recount would be conducted. Both Republican members voted to prevent the recount while both Democrats voted to allow it, meaning it likely would begin Wednesday unless the courts intervene. It also would be conducted by hand, as Stein requested.
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