Sunday 23 April 2017

Federal judge agrees to end Michigan election recount after three days

The ruling seals Donald Trump's narrow electoral victory over Hillary Clinton in Michigan (AP)
The ruling seals Donald Trump's narrow electoral victory over Hillary Clinton in Michigan (AP)

A federal judge who ordered Michigan to begin a presidential ballot recount has effectively ended it, tying his decision to a state court ruling that found Green Party candidate Jill Stein had no legal standing to request another look at ballots.

The ruling seals Republican Donald Trump's narrow electoral victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the state.

US District Judge Mark Goldsmith agreed with Republicans who argued that the three-day recount must end a day after the state appeals court dealt a blow to the effort.

Ms Stein, who finished fourth in Michigan on November 8, did not have a chance of winning even after a recount and therefore was not an "aggrieved" candidate, the appeals court said.

"Because there is no basis for this court to ignore the Michigan court's ruling and make an independent judgment regarding what the Michigan legislature intended by the term 'aggrieved', plaintiffs have not shown an entitlement to a recount," Mr Goldsmith said.

It was his midnight ruling on Monday that started the recount in Michigan, but his order dealt with timing - not whether a recount was appropriate. More than 20 counties so far are recounting ballots, and some are finished.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Michigan elections board said the recount would end if Mr Goldsmith struck down his earlier order.

Ms Stein got about 1% of the vote in three states where she has pushed for recounts - Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Mr Trump narrowly won all three.

She insists she is more concerned about the accuracy of the election, and alleges, without evidence, that the elections may have been susceptible to hacking.

"They present speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery - but not actual injury," Mr Goldsmith said.

A court hearing will be held on Friday on a possible recount in Pennsylvania. Wisconsin's recount, which started last week, has increased Mr Trump's margin of victory over Ms Clinton so far.

Ms Clinton needed all three states to flip to take enough electoral votes to win the election. Mr Trump has 306 electoral votes to Ms Clinton's 232, and 270 are needed to win.

Michigan has 16 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has 20 and Wisconsin has 10.

AP

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