Federal judge halts Michigan recount

Federal judge halts Michigan recount

A federal judge dissolved [text, PDF] the decision from earlier this week and halted the Michigan recount on Wednesday. Judge Mark Goldsmith of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] had entered a temporary restraining order [text, PDF] “to cease any delay in the commencement of the recount of the presidential vote cast in Michigan” and to “continue [the recount] until further order of this Court.” While the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] affirmed the temporary restraining order they also stated that if the Michigan state courts deemed the recount improper for any reason the district court should consider motions “to dissolve or modify its order in this case.” The Michigan Court of Appeals [official website] held that recount should never have been initiated because the filing party, Green Party candidate Jill Stein [official website], is not an “aggrieved candidate” who had a reasonable chance of winning the election. The US District court agreed:

It is at least arguable that the Michigan Legislature intended to confine costly and disruptive recounts to cases where a losing candidate stood a reasonable chance of changing the outcome of the election. That is certainly the typical petitioner for a recount, and nothing has been placed in the record to suggest that the Legislature may have had in mind a petitioner simply wishing to confirm the voting results, notwithstanding the absence of any reasonable likelihood of changing the result.

The US District Court also stated that Stein had failed to show substantial evidence that there was an “actual deprivation of voting rights.” Stein’s lawyers have expressed [NYT report] disappointment but have “no intention of giving up.”

Stein is also continuing to press for a recount [JURIST report] in Pennsylvania by filing a suit [complaint, PDF] against election officials in federal court Monday. A recount in Wisconsin began last week at Stein’s request. Each individual Wisconsin county may decide [JURIST report] if they will use electronic or manual means to recount. The need for the electoral college was called into question [JURIST report] by US Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) [official website]. In late November a lawyer for the Hillary Clinton campaign announced [JURIST report] support for the recount in Wisconsin and promised to look into allegations of voter fraud.