Tuesday 22 August 2017

Appeals court rules out presidential recount in Michigan

Jill Stein speaks at a news conference in front of Trump Tower (AP)
Jill Stein speaks at a news conference in front of Trump Tower (AP)

Michigan's presidential recount has been thrown into doubt after a state appeals court said the Green Party candidate's poor showing disqualified her from seeking a second look at the votes.

Meanwhile, the fate of a statewide recount push in Pennsylvania must wait at least until Friday, when a federal judge has scheduled a hearing.

President-elect Donald Trump narrowly defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in both states and Wisconsin, which started a recount last week.

The recounts requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein were not expected to change enough votes to overturn the result of the election.

Ms Stein, who received about 1% of the vote in all three states, says her intent is to verify the accuracy of the vote. She has suggested, with no evidence, that votes cast were susceptible to computer hacking.

In Wisconsin, Mr Trump had widened his victory margin over Ms Clinton by 146 votes, with 23 of the state's 72 counties having finished their recounts. In those counties, he gained 105 votes and Ms Clinton dropped 41 votes.

He had defeated Ms Clinton in Wisconsin by about 22,000 votes.

In Michigan, t he appeals court ordered the state election board to reject Ms Stein's recount petition. The board meets again on Wednesday.

Attorney general Bill Schuette said the decision means the recount "must stop", but Ms Stein's lawyer Mark Brewer insisted the recount is not over.

The ruling came a day after District Judge Mark Goldsmith ordered an immediate state-wide recount of about 4.8 million ballots.

Mr Trump won Michigan by about 10,700 votes over Ms Clinton.

In Pennsylvania, District Judge Paul Diamond scheduled a hearing for Friday on the request for a recount.

The Republican Party and Mr Trump warned that the case threatens Pennsylvania's ability to certify its election before a December 13 federal deadline. Ms Stein's team has not produced evidence of hacking, but says Pennsylvania's election system is "a national disgrace".

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania election officials updated the state's vote count to show that Mr Trump's lead over Ms Clinton had shrunk to about 44,000 out of more than six million votes cast.

That is still short of Pennsylvania's 0.5% trigger for an automatic state-wide recount.

In Nevada, a partial recount of the race was requested by independent presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente , who finished last with a fraction of 1% of the vote.

Most of the 92 precincts being recounted are in the Las Vegas area, with eight in four other counties. If the sample shows a discrepancy of at least 1% for Mr De La Fuente or Ms Clinton, a full recount will be launched in all 17 Nevada counties.

Ms Clinton defeated Mr 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.

AP

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