U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond cited “at least six separate grounds” in rejecting the demand by Jill Stein, a failed Green Party candidate who has called for recounts across the nation in light of the possibility of voting-machines tampering.
After initially raising millions of dollars toward the effort, Stein found the process to be more arduous and labor-intensive than she had expected and so brought civil actions that accused various states including Pennsylvania of infringing on the right to vote.
Judge Diamond held a hearing on the case Friday where attorneys for both Stein and the commonwealth called their opponent’s claims impossible.
Diamond sided with the defense this morning. “There is no credible evidence that any ‘hack’ occurred, and compelling evidence that Pennsylvania’s voting system was not in any way compromised,” the 31-page opinion states.
The judge also the rejected Stein’s motion out of concern that a recount would make it impossible for the state to certify its Electoral College members by Dec. 13, as required by federal law, “thus inexcusably disenfranchising some six million Pennsylvania voters.”
Stein has said she is not interested, and does not think she can, change the outcome of the election but that her efforts aim to restore America’s confidence in the electoral process.
Pennsylvania uses electronic voting machines and optical scanners that count paper ballots, which Stein on Friday referred to as “tamper-friendly, hackable, [and] error-prone.”
This, in conjunction with Pennsylvania’s “labyrinthine, incomprehensible, and impossibly burdensome” recount provisions, meant that voters were “deprived of their fundamental right to vote,” Stein’s original complaint argued.
The candidate had brought her lawsuit with Randall Reitz in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Judge Diamond said their case failed to allege an actual injury. “Although Mr. Reitz is a Pennsylvania voter, he has not alleged that his vote was inaccurately recorded or tallied in the final Pennsylvania vote count,” the opinion states. “Plaintiffs’ allegation that voting machines may be ‘hackable,’ and the seemingly rhetorical question they pose respecting the accuracy of the vote count, simply do not constitute injury-in-fact.”
Since Pennsylvania must certify its Electoral College members Tuesday, the recount would have to be finished by then, or the electors would have to make their decision without the guidance of the popular vote.
“Granting her later than last minute request for relief, however, could well ensure that no Pennsylvania vote counts,” Diamond wrote. “Such a result would be both outrageous and completely unnecessary; as I have found, suspicion of a ‘hacked’ Pennsylvania election borders on the irrational.”
Stein’s campaign website is still accepting donations as of noon Eastern Time Monday to ensure “every vote counts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.”
Neither she nor a representative for the commonwealth has returned a request for comment.