The federal judge who ordered the recount of nearly 5 million ballots in Michigan dropped his decision Wednesday evening, halting Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s push for a second look at ballots in the swing state. It’s a decision that seems to secure Donald Trump‘s narrow victory in the traditionally blue state.
Washington Examiner reports,
U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith made the announcement after hearing arguments Wednesday about whether a recount of 4.8 million votes was a proper course of action.
Goldsmith ordered granted Stein’s request to accelerate the recount on Monday after she put into motion a recount push in Michigan, along with Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, in order to confirm the integrity of the vote and raised millions of dollars to cover the costs (Stein paid $973,250 for the Michigan recount). State law in Michigan requires a candidate requesting a recount who lost by more than 0.5 percent of the vote (Stein only got about 1 percent of the vote) must pay $125 per precinct, while the state covers the rest. The recount would have potentially cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
In his opinion, Goldsmith wrote that the plaintiffs in the case had “not presented evidence of tampering or mistake” and that potential fraud was not reason enough to continue the recount. He did, however, note the “serious” issues Stein raised, specifically the “vulnerability” of the Michigan voting system to attacks.
Republican candidate Donald Trump narrowly defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Michigan by just over 10,000 votes.
On Tuesday, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered the state’s Board of State Canvassers to reject Stein’s recount, because she was not a top finisher in the race and there was no way to overturn the election result. At about the same time, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, considering a different aspect of the issue, ruled in favor of the recount. In light of the contrasting decisions and the superior position of the 6th Circuit, court proceedings were slated to continue.
Stein called for the disqualification of two Michigan Supreme Court justices from hearing cases related to the recount on Tuesday — Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. and Justice Joan Larsen — pointing out that they have been named by President-elect Trump as potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, “and their involvement in the case would create an appearance of impropriety.”
In a statement Wednesday evening, Hayley Horowitz and Jessica Clarke, the Stein campaign’s lead lawyers in Michigan, said the campaign was “deeply disappointed” in the federal judge’s decision to effectively end the recount, and will now look to Michigan’s Supreme Court to continue the recount that had begun in every Michigan county:
“We are deeply disappointed in Judge Goldsmith’s ruling today, which gives deference to partisan state judges in Michigan who are attempting to block the state’s recount simply because of the person who made the request, without regard for the integrity of Michigan’s electoral system. The history of this country is one where federal courts step in to protect the constitutional voting rights of all Americans, especially when they are under attack in the states. Well today, they are under brutal attack. Backed by Michigan Republicans, Donald Trump — who himself has repeatedly alleged widespread voter fraud and a ‘rigged election’ — suddenly sees no need for a routine verification of the democratic process in Michigan. His efforts to suppress the vote count is a stunning about-face, even by Trump’s own standards.
“Recounts are not about politics or parties; they are about our democracy. They are, as Judge Goldsmith said himself Monday, a way to ensure the ‘fundamental right to vote, and to have that vote conducted fairly and counted accurately, which is the bedrock of our nation.’ By stopping the recount in Michigan, Trump and Michigan Republicans are explicitly stripping the constitutional rights of Michigan voters straight from under them. Worse, they are continuing to undermine confidence in the American political system by denying voters a chance to be reassured that the election results were accurate.
“But make no mistake, we are not backing down from this fight — a fight to protect the hard-fought, hard-won civil and voting rights of all Americans. Our campaign will seek immediate relief in Michigan’s Supreme Court to ensure the recount that is already underway in all Michigan counties continues. With so many irregularities in Michigan — including more than 75,000 under-votes, many in urban areas, and widespread carelessness, and perhaps interference, with preserving ballots — there is a real possibility the rights of voters in Michigan may have been suppressed during this election. We need this recount to ensure the fairness, accuracy and integrity of the vote.”
Read the full story at Washington Examiner