Stein taking Pennsylvania recount to federal court

In her latest move to scramble the vote count, Jill Stein has now announced that she will seek “an emergency federal court order” on Monday in an attempt to force a recount of the entire Pennsylvania presidential vote, just hours after dropping the recount bid in state court.

Stein dropped the Pennsylvania case on Saturday night, claiming in a court filing that her suddenly cash-strapped campaign could not afford the court’s bond requirement:

Petitioners are regular citizens of ordinary means. They cannot afford to post the $1,000,000 bond required by the court.

A statement “released late Saturday” added:

The judge’s outrageous demand that voters pay such an exorbitant figure is a shameful, unacceptable barrier to democratic participation. This is yet another sign that Pennsylvania’s antiquated election law is stacked against voters.

Then, near midnight on Saturday, Stein tweeted her intention to “escalate” her “demand” for a statewide recount.  A statement posted on Stein’s recount web page says in part:

Make no mistake -- the Stein campaign will continue to fight for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania.

… As a result, on Monday the Stein campaign will escalate our campaign in Pennsylvania and file for emergency relief in federal court, demanding a statewide recount on constitutional grounds.

In the meantime, Trump’s initial lead in Pennsylvania has been whittled down by previously uncounted ballots:

An updated count Friday by state election officials shows Trump’s lead shrinking to 49,000 from 71,000 over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

A big chunk of newly counted Clinton votes came from Philadelphia. Several counties are still finalizing totals, but Douglas Hill of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania says there aren’t enough uncounted ballots outstanding to change the outcome of Pennsylvania’s presidential election.

What a surprise – uncounted Clinton votes surface in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania election law mandates a recount if the result is within 0.5 percent.  Trump’s current lead of about 49,500 votes, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State web site, compares with a difference of about 30,400 required to trigger the 0.5-percent recount rule.

Stein’s vote count in Pennsylvania currently sits at about 49,700 votes.

While the statewide recount is going to court again, the precinct level voter-initiated recounts “in hundreds of precincts in some Pennsylvania counties including Philadelphia, Allegheny and Lehigh will continue,” the Stein campaign said.

In Philadelphia, where the Stein forces no doubt hope to turn up some votes, the campaign’s request for a “forensic audit” of voting machine software was turned down by city election commissioners as ballot recounts proceeded in 75 of the city’s 1,686 voting divisions.

Stein has also announced that “she plans to hold a rally on Monday morning outside of Trump Tower in New York.”

In Wisconsin, a U.S. district judge on Friday denied a Republican request to grant a temporary restraining order halting the Wisconsin recount, which began last Thursday.  The judge did, however, agree to schedule a Friday, December 9 hearing on the arguments as the recount continues.

The Republican plaintiffs claim among other things that the recount “threatens to push the state pass [sic] the deadline to choose presidential electors and also ‘may unjustifiably cast doubt upon the legitimacy of President-Elect Donald J. Trump's victory.’”

In Michigan, electoral authorities “deadlocked 2-2” Friday on the Trump campaign’s “objection” to “Stein's request for a recount of all presidential ballots cast in Michigan, meaning a hand recount of Michigan’s presidential ballots could begin late Tuesday or likely early Wednesday.”

On Sunday, a federal judge was “skeptical” in a hearing on the Stein group’s subsequent request to move the recount start up two days, from Wednesday to Monday, thereby eliminating the two days that state law gives the Republicans to “object to Friday’s Board of Canvassers ruling in court”:

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith asked Stein attorney Mark Brewer to explain what the harm is in waiting until Wednesday, as planned, especially after Brewer conceded that the recount could still likely be completed by Dec. 13 if started Wednesday, though it would take more money and resources.


Also, state officials disclosed at the hearing that the state election results, showing Trump as the victor, have already been certified and Gov. Rick Snyder has already certified the Trump electors and sent that information to Washington, D.C.

Meaning that “Michigan's electoral votes are guaranteed to count,” unless the recount flips the election to Hillary.

The district judge said at the end of Sunday’s hearing that “he would soon issue his decision in writing.”

Unless the judge rules otherwise, the net result at this point of various lawsuits over the Michigan recount is that a complete hand count will begin on Wednesday.

Turning to Stein’s ulterior motives, The Hill posted a discussion last week on what Jill Stein gets out of the recount campaign, aside from “heavy news coverage” and “building a fundraising apparatus greater than she had before.”  The article suggests that Stein’s donors include “‘desperate and vulnerable’ Democrats”: 

She caught onto this wave of frustration among grassroots liberals who are looking at undivided Republican government and are desperate for any way to change that.

Otherwise known as “magical thinking.”

But the writer also observes that “bringing in those disaffected Democrats could backfire if the recount concludes with no substantial surprise,” leading to “disappointment,” “distrust” and a loss of “credibility going forward” once it becomes obvious that the recount campaign is “a fundraising scam.”

But a column at, a financial news website, disputes claims that the Stein recounts are a “completely frivolous, throwaway fundraising scheme”:

What they will get her is donor data potentially worth millions of dollars.

Stein is the owner of the name, contact and credit card information of each and every individual who donates to the #Recount2016 cause…

The Stein recount campaign has received donations from nearly 140,000 individuals. Taking that into account, a conservative calculation puts the list Stein is now in possession of at $2.8 million. Harris estimated she could command a fee of $50,000 to $75,000 for a one-time blast.

The article lists examples of politicians with extensive and valuable mailing lists, including Ben Carson, Bernie Sanders, Scott Walker, Mitt Romney, and Hillary Clinton, the latter three of which have generated seven-figure sums from their mailing list rentals.

A former Sanders consultant says of the Stein email list: “I'd pay at least $2 for any old working email address. These are donor addresses so they're worth much, much more.”

The only people throwing their hard-earned money away are the donors to Stein’s quixotic recount project.