After a chaotic past 4 days in which a federal judge demanded Jill Stein’s recount in Michigan to move forward on Monday, and a subsequent appellate court upholding his ruling, that same federal judge has tonight overturned his own ruling and suspended the state’s recount efforts.
U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith first ruled on the Michigan recount earlier this week and mandated that the efforts begin no later than 12:00pm on Monday, which the state ended up proceeding with. Then on Tuesday an appellate court initially found that “Jill Stein doesn’t qualify as an aggrieved candidate under state law because she got only 1 percent of the Michigan vote and can’t win with a recount”, only for that ruling to be reversed moments later by the same court.
Now, Judge Goldsmith has stated that his ruling on the original recount case was only based on timing, meaning that he decided if the recount was to move forward, it would have to begin on Monday to have a chance to be finished by the federal deadline of December 13th.
After 3 days of counting, however, Judge Goldsmith has determined that there is no basis for Jill Stein to pursue this recount in Michigan, as she lacked any evidence to support her claims of possible voter fraud or hacking.
The Detroit News reports:
Detroit — 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.”
There is no case law recognizing an independent federal right to a recount when there is no evidence someone was deprived of their constitutional rights, the judge wrote in an eight-page order.
“Rather, plaintiffs’ asserted right to a recount is just a restatement of her right to participate in a fair election, free from tampering or mistake,” Goldsmith wrote. “But, to date, plaintiffs have not presented evidence of tampering or mistake.”
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.
“We’re seeing many precincts around the state deemed unrecountable because election workers failed to comply with longstanding Michigan ballot security measures,” said Mark Brewer, a Southfield attorney representing Stein. “For the first time in a long time, the voters of this state are being allowed to see inside the election machinery.”
Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers anticipated the order and directed elections officials to halt the presidential recount Thursday morning. The panel of two Republicans and two Democrats voted 3-1 on the motion.
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.
Perhaps after 3 days of counting, Jill Stein and the Democrats were finding more invalid votes for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump, prompting Judge Goldsmith (a federal appointee of Obama’s and registered Democrat) to ultimately rule against the recount.
After over 7 million dollars raised by Jill Stein for the purpose of a 3 state recount, and only Wisconsin actually moving forward with the efforts, I wonder what will become of all that extra money she raised?