Backers of Donald Trump have filed suit in three closely contested states opposing the recount efforts, which are in some cases already underway.
In Wisconsin, two Super PACs with ties to Trump’s campaign and Republican U.S. Senator Ronald Johnson, who recently won his bid for re-election, filed suit in federal court asking the court to stop the recount already underway.
“This lawsuit seeks to enjoin a recount that … fails to satisfy Equal Protection requirements, threatens to extend past the federally specified ‘safe harbor’ deadline for choosing presidential electors, and — particularly in conjunction with other baseless recounts sought by a candidate who did not win a single presidential elector — may unjustifiably cast doubt upon the legitimacy of President-Elect Donald J Trump’s victory,” says the complaint filed on Thursday.
The candidate referred to in the complaint is Jill Stein, a Green party presidential candidate who initiated the recount while intimating that discrepancies between traditional ballots and mechanical ballots indicate the possibility that the election was hacked.
“The recounts Americans are calling for will help restore trust in our democracy,” Stein tweeted on Friday afternoon. “They’ll also point us to reforms that safeguard that trust.”
Stein’s opponents insist the discrepancies are more attributable to a rural/urban divide that played out across the country and few experts expect the recount to threaten the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency.
Similar to the suit in Wisconsin, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican, filed suit on Friday morning asking the state’s Supreme Court to stop the recount that Stein demanded there.
“Green Party candidate Jill Stein received fewer than 52,000 of the more than 4.7 million votes cast in Michigan’s election for President, yet she now alleges that she is an “aggrieved” candidate and demands a recount that has no possibility of changing the result of that election,” Schuette wrote in the complaint.
Finally, Trump’s attorneys filed suit in Pennsylvania state court, which in nearly identical terms, dismisses Stein as a non-consequential candidate who is meddling in an already-decided affair.
Many dismiss the recount effort as little more than hand-wringing and sour grapes from liberals still stunned by an election that so many in the professional pundit class and the polling community predicted would go to Hillary Clinton.
However, Stein and others have pushed back against the idea saying that regardless of whether the recount swings the election to Clinton — which few people believe is even plausible — it is important to determine if impropriety occurred and if so what reforms are needed.
“In the age of computerized voting machines and unprecedented corporate influence in our elections, our electoral system is under increasing threat,” Stein wrote in an op-ed published by USA Today on Thursday.
Trump’s margin of victory in all three states remains narrow, with less than 100,000 vote difference handing him the election.
In Michigan, he won by 10,704 votes according to the latest county. In Wisconsin, Trump won by 22,177 and in Pennsylvania, where he enjoyed his largest margin of victory, he beat Clinton by a mere 46,765.
Crestfallen liberals have pointed to the popular vote as Clinton presently leads by more than 2.5 million votes, or 1.9 percentage points, which means she is rapidly approaching the margin that pollsters predicted in the days leading up to the election.
Nevertheless, Trump trounced Clinton in the Electoral College, which is where it counts, garnering 306 electors to Clinton’s 232. However, should the recount show impropriety or demonstrate that Clinton in fact won Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, the Electoral College would tip in her favor.
Trump has not addressed the recount controversy specifically, although he did tweet about the popular vote this week, saying the only reason he lost it is because millions of people voted illegally.
He offered no evidence to back his assertion.
Trump’s lawyers in Pennsylvania argue that Stein’s request for a recount is meritless, partly because she fails to assert irregularities with voting machines in the Keystone State.
“Petition claims there are vulnerabilities in some unspecified voting machines in Pennsylvania, cites public reports of election-related hacking outside of Pennsylvania and notes the disparity between pre-election polls and the outcome of the presidential election,” the complaint says. “But it does not offer any evidence that a single voting machine in Pennsylvania was hacked.”
Nevertheless, many on the left point to the prevalence of hacking during the election, as Russian operatives are believed to be behind the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails.
American intelligence agencies said Russia likely was the source of the hacked material, which was then supplied to Wikileaks, which published the material everyday from October 6 until the election.
Also, Trump requested that Russia hack Hillary Clinton’s private server to retrieve lost emails during the campaign, although he later asserted he was joking.
The Hillary Clinton campaign has pledged to participate in the recount effort, stating that they had not planned to undertake it, but after Stein took the lead, they wanted to ensure the process ran fairly and smoothly.
““We have to be at the table to make sure it’s done right, that it’s done fairly,” said Clinton running mate Tim Kaine on a Thursday morning television program.
Michigan’s election board deadlocked on Trump’s appeal for the recount, meaning the process is set to launch next week, unless the Michigan Supreme Court grant’s Schuette’s request to stay the recount.
In Wisconsin, all 72 counties have been the recount, although there is a chance a federal judge could stop it as it deliberates over the recently filed suit.
Pennsylvania has yet to get underway in its recount, and a court hearing regarding Trump’s effort to stop it is slated for Monday.