DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge who ordered Michigan to begin its recount effectively ended it on Wednesday, tying his decision to a state court ruling that found Green Party candidate Jill Stein had no legal standing to request another look at the ballots.
The ruling seals Republican Donald Trump’s narrow victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton for Michigan’s 16 electoral votes.
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. The court said Stein, who finished fourth in Michigan on Nov. 8, didn’t have a chance of winning even after a recount and therefore isn’t an “aggrieved” candidate.
“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,” Goldsmith said.
It was the judge’s midnight ruling Monday that started the recount in Michigan. But Goldsmith’s order dealt with timing — not whether a recount was appropriate. More than 20 of 83 counties already were counting ballots again. They reported minor changes in vote totals, although many precincts couldn’t be examined for a second time for a variety of reasons.
Earlier Wednesday, the Michigan elections board voted, 3-1, to end the recount if Goldsmith extinguished his earlier order.
State Republican Party Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel and Attorney General Bill Schuette said it’s a victory for voters and taxpayers. Stein now is left with asking the Michigan Supreme Court to intervene, which is a long shot.
“Jill Stein, who received only 1.07% of the vote in Michigan, is not legally entitled to hijack the will of voters and drag them into an arduous and expensive publicity stunt,” McDaniel said.
Stein got about 1 percent of the vote in three states where she’s pushed for recounts — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump narrowly won all three.
She insists she’s more concerned about the accuracy of the election, but Goldsmith said Stein’s legal team presented only “speculative claims” about vulnerable machines, “not actual injury.”
The judge said a recount to test the integrity of the voting system “has never been endorsed by any court.”
A court hearing will be held Friday on a possible recount in Pennsylvania. Wisconsin’s recount, which started last week, has increased Trump’s margin of victory over Clinton thus far.
Clinton needed all three states to flip in order to take enough electoral votes to win the election. Trump has 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232; 270 are needed to win. Michigan has 16 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has 20 and Wisconsin has 10. Electors convene Dec. 19 across the country to vote for president.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.