Wednesday 13 December 2017

Jill Stein seeks third presidential vote recount in Michigan

Ms Stein has also sought a recount in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (AP)
Ms Stein has also sought a recount in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (AP)

US Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein has requested a full hand recount of Michigan's presidential vote - making it the third state narrowly won by Republican Donald Trump where she wants another look at the results.

Ms Stein previously asked for recounts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

President-elect Trump defeated his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton by about 10,700 votes out of nearly 4.8 million ballots cast in Michigan, or two-tenths of a percentage point.

But Ms Stein alleges that irregularities and the possibility that vote scanning devices could have been hacked call the results into question.

Elections officials in all three states have expressed confidence in the results.

Michigan's recount could start as early as Friday, though a challenge to the recount by Mr Trump may delay it.

"We simply won't know if there was hacking or interference in this election unless we look at the votes - every vote systematically, impartially and by hand," Jessica Clarke, a lawyer for the Stein campaign, said during a news conference in Michigan.

University of Michigan computer scientist Alex Halderman, who said voting machines and optical scanners which count ballots are prone to errors and outside manipulation, told reporters that the recount will show "for sure" whether cyber attacks have occurred.

He added: "More importantly, (the recount) will provide a defence in the future and a deterrent to any adversary who might want to try to hack future elections."

Mr Trump's victory is highly unlikely to be reversed in any of the states.

The Republican Party said a Michigan recount would cost taxpayers far more than the 973,000 dollars (£782,000) Ms Stein paid when filing her recount petition.

Secretary of state Ruth Johnson, a Republican, called Ms Stein's request "unusual", especially since there is no evidence of fraud or "even a credible allegation of any tampering".

She said: "Nevertheless, county clerks have been gearing up to complete this recount under a very challenging (December 13) deadline.

"They'll be working nights and weekends. I know they will do a great job because we have some of the best clerks in the country here in Michigan."

Meanwhile in Wisconsin, where Mr Trump defeated Clinton by roughly 22,000 votes, Ms Stein's campaign said it will not appeal a judge's ruling that Wisconsin's recount can be done without counting every ballot by hand.

Most counties plan to do hand recounts anyway, which are due to start on Thursday.

The Wisconsin Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission on Wednesday alleging that Ms Stein's recount effort amounts to illegal coordination with Mrs Clinton designed to circumvent the law and public scrutiny.

Ms Stein's campaign manager, David Cobb, said in a statement that Stein is not coordinating with anyone and he dismissed the complaint as a "PR stunt to push a false narrative that will ultimately have no impact on the recount in Wisconsin".

Mr Trump defeated Mrs Clinton in Pennsylvania by about 71,000 votes, or about 1 percentage point.


Press Association

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