Hours after a Green Party-backed campaign dropped its case in state courts they announce a change to their strategy to force a statewide recount of Pennsylvania’s Nov. 8 presidential election, won by Republican Donald Trump, and said late Saturday night that it will seek help in the federal courts, rather than the state courts.
The campaign announced that it would seek an emergency federal court order on Monday for a recount.
“Make no mistake the Stein campaign will continue to fight for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania,” recount campaign lawyer Jonathan Abady said in a statement issued a little before midnight. “We are committed to this fight to protect the civil and voting rights of all Americans.”
Abady said barriers to a recount in Pennsylvania are pervasive and the state court system is ill-equipped to address the problem.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, raised over $6.9 million to fund recount efforts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Stein framed the issue as an effort to explore whether voting machines and systems had been hacked and the election result manipulated. Despite Stein’s lawyers having offered no evidence of hacking in Pennsylvania’s election.
The state Republican Party and Trump asked for a dismissal in the state court case.
The decision came two days before a state court hearing was scheduled in the case. Saturday’s court filing to withdraw the case said the Green Party-backed voters who filed it “are regular citizens of ordinary means” and cannot afford the $1 million bond ordered by the court by 5 p.m. Monday. Green Party-backed efforts to force recounts and analyze election software in scattered precincts were continuing. The court’s order can be read here.
The Wisconsin recount began on Thursday, while a potential recount could begin in Michigan next week.
No Republican presidential candidate had captured Pennsylvania since 1988.
Stein announced Pennsylvania’s recount purpose was to ensure “our votes are safe and secure.”
They have unsuccessfully sought to get various counties to allow a forensic examination of their election system software.
Trumps lawyers and the state Republican Party claimed there was no evidence or allegations that tampering occurred with Pennsylvania’s voting systems. Pennsylvania law does not allow a court-ordered recount, they argued, and a lawyer for the Green Party had acknowledged that the effort was without precedent in Pennsylvania.
Republican lawyers also argued that the case has threatened the states ability to certify its presidential electors by the December 13 federal deadline.
On Saturday, a GOP lawyer, Lawrence Tabas, said the case had been meant “solely for purposes to delay the Electoral College vote in Pennsylvania for President-Elect Trump.”
The state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Pedro Cortes, a Democrat, has said there was no evidence of any sort of cyberattacks or irregularities in the election. Cortes predicted that a recount would change few votes.
As of Friday, Trump’s margin of victory in Pennsylvania was 49,000, or less than 1 percent, out of 6 million votes cast, according to state election officials. State and county officials did not expect any outstanding uncounted votes to change the outcome of the presidential election in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s automatic statewide recount trigger is 0.5 percent. Stein drew less than 1 percent of the votes cast.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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