Federal Judge Weighs Fate of Pennsylvania Recount

PHILADELPHIA (CN) – A federal judge presiding over a Pennsylvania election recount hearing Friday was primarily concerned about whether the task could be accomplished before the Dec. 13 deadline.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who has also pursued recount efforts in Wisconsin and Michigan, has led the Pennsylvania case.

“At the end the judge kept asking how long it would take, how long it would take. Her side said it wouldn’t take long and [the judge] seemed to respond positively to that, so I’m hopeful,” said Bo Klein, a hearing attendee who came out to support the recount efforts.

U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond did not make a decision by the end of the hearing, but is expected to rule on the recount bid Monday.

Stein said at a Friday press conference that she wants a forensic examination of voting machines in Pennsylvania and a recount of paper ballots.


Jill Stein of the Green Party at a Friday press conference. Photo by Lowell Neumann Nickey.

“We are not in this in order to specifically help any candidate or hurt any other candidate,” she said. “Our goal is to have the American voter have their confidence shored up in this voting system and it shouldn’t require a disaster in order for us to be motivated to have quality assurance in all elections.”

Stein said she’d like to see “an end to the use of these very tamper-friendly, hackable, error-prone machines.”

“Let’s take this one step at a time and hope we get a decision as soon as possible,” Stein said of her Pennsylvania case.

Cheri Honkala, an anti-poverty activist who was Stein’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election, said at the press conference, “We are here across the street from the Liberty Bell, and it’s time to ring it.”

“Jill raised $6 million in $40 increments because the U.S. public agrees with her; people want a recount,” Honkala said. “Trump, who said our election process is rigged, is now trying to block a recount. I don’t know what he is afraid of.”

She added, “This is how things are going to be now. Democracy is on trial here.”

Lines for Friday’s hearing were out the door, but when asked why there was no overflow area with a closed-circuit screening, a U.S. Marshal said they “weren’t expecting this kind of turnout.”

Those who had shown up early enough to get in to Friday’s recount hearing were turned away if they had cellphones on their person.

“They told me I couldn’t come in with a cellphone because they couldn’t check it in, so I went back to my office to drop it off,” said Tessa Young, who waited in line for nearly two hours. “By the time I got back the courtroom [was] full.”

Forrest Bennett and Dwayne Heisler, of the Democratic National and State Committees, respectively, had filed for a recount, but had their case dismissed after a filing by the Trump transition team.

“This was an issue between our voters and their country, why the Trump team had anything to do with it is beyond me, let alone being able to have the motion dismissed,” Heisler said.

Judge Diamond’s secretary Carol James did not return multiple calls and messages for comment.