LOCAL officials in Wisconsin will decide for themselves how to carry out a presidential election recount after a state judge yesterday rejected a lawsuit by former Green Party candidate Jill Stein to have the ballots counted by hand.
A recount of Wisconsin’s 25 million votes is set to begin tomorrow, after Stein’s campaign requested the audit and paid the state’s $3.5-million filing fee, state election officials say.
Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ruled that Wisconsin’s 72 county clerks will not be required to count ballots by hand as Stein requested in a lawsuit filed on Monday, Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement.
Judge Bailey-Rihn said Stein’s lawsuit, backed by the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, fell short of Wisconsin’s legal standard to ban use of ballot machines in a recount and failed to show enough evidence of fraud or other issues, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said.
“I follow the law. That’s who I am, despite my personal opinions,” said Judge Bailey-Rihn, the Journal reported.
“It’s [the counties’] decision. It’s their discretion. I may disagree with it but I must follow the law.”
The ruling will not deter Stein’s efforts, a lawyer for her campaign recount effort said, referring to the hand counting of ballots as the “gold standard.”
“We are calling on all counties to respect the will of Americans across the country and across the political spectrum, and follow the recommendation of the judge, and conduct a hand recount to ensure the accuracy, security, and integrity of this election,” Matthew Brinckerhoff said in a statement.
Stein has also sought a recount in Pennsylvania on Monday, just hours before the state’s deadline, and her campaign said she would file a similar request in Michigan by its deadline today.
“Election integrity experts have independently identified Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as states where ‘statistical anomalies’ raised concerns,” her campaign said on its website, seeking donations to pay for recount filing fees.
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