A federal judge on Monday issued a stinging rejection of a Green Party-backed request to recount paper ballots in Pennsylvania's presidential election, won narrowly by Republican Donald Trump, and scan some counties' election systems for signs of hacking.
In his 31-page decision, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond said there
were at least six grounds that required him to reject the Green Party's
lawsuit, which had been opposed by Trump, the Pennsylvania Republican
Party and the Pennsylvania attorney general's office. The Green Party
has been successful in at least getting statewide recounts started in
Wisconsin and Michigan, but it has failed to get a statewide recount
begun or ordered in Pennsylvania.
Suspicion of a hacked Pennsylvania election "borders on the
irrational" while granting the Green Party's recount bid could "ensure
that that no Pennsylvania vote counts" given Tuesday's federal deadline
to certify the vote for the Electoral College, wrote Diamond, an
appointee of former President George W. Bush, a Republican.
"Most importantly, there is no credible evidence that any 'hack'
occurred, and compelling evidence that Pennsylvania's voting system was
not in any way compromised," Diamond wrote. He also said the lawsuit
suffered from a lack of standing, potentially the lack of federal
jurisdiction and an "unexplained, highly prejudicial" wait before filing
last week's lawsuit, four weeks after the Nov. 8 election.
The decision was the Green Party's latest roadblock in Pennsylvania
after hitting numerous walls in county and state courts. Green
Party-backed lawyers argue that it was possible that computer hackers
changed the election outcome and that Pennsylvania's heavy use of
paperless machines makes it a prime target. Green Party presidential
candidate Jill Stein also contended that Pennsylvania has erected
unconstitutional barriers to voters seeking a recount.
A lawyer for the Green Party said Monday they were disappointed and unable to immediately say whether they would appeal.
"But one thing is clear," said the lawyer, Ilann Maazel. "The
Pennsylvania election system is not fair to voters and voters don't know
if their votes counted, and that's a very large problem."
It is part of a broader effort by Stein to recount votes in Michigan,
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, three states with a history of supporting
Democrats that were narrowly won by Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Stein captured about 1 percent of the vote, or less, in each of the
In Pennsylvania, Trump beat Clinton in Pennsylvania by about 44,000 votes out of 6 million cast.
The Wisconsin recount was expected to conclude Monday. With about 95
percent of the votes recounted as of Sunday, Clinton had gained 25 votes
on Trump, but still trailed by about 22,000 votes out of nearly 3
million cast in Wisconsin.
A federal judge halted Michigan's recount last week after three days.
Trump won Michigan by fewer than 11,000 votes out of nearly 4.8 million
Associated Press writer Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.