A US judge in Wisconsin on Friday rejected a request by supporters of President-elect Donald Trump to stop a recount of election votes, while a Pennsylvania judge said he would rule on Monday on whether to allow a recount to go forward.
The results of the Nov. 8 election have been challenged in three states by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who finished fourth in the presidential poll. The other state is Michigan.
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Even if all three recounts were carried out, they would be extremely unlikely to change the outcome of Trump’s win over Democrat Hillary Clinton. US District Judge Paul Diamond in Philadelphia said at a hearing that he would return a ruling “first thing Monday morning” on whether he would grant a request for a partial recount of paper ballots and a forensic examination of voting computer systems before the national Dec. 13 certification deadline.
Lawyers for the Green Party, the Trump campaign and the state argued the matter for three hours, with Stein’s supporters saying the state’s election process was so disorganized that state officials had not known the recount petition filing deadlines for some counties.
In Wisconsin, the Great America political action committee and Stop Hillary PAC had called on the court to halt the recount, which is more than 88 percent complete, according to the state elections commission. A commission spokesman said in an email that the recount was expected to be completed on Monday.
“The recount is an inherent part of what ensures the integrity of elections,” US District Judge James Peterson said, according to court transcripts. Although Clinton won the national popular vote, by 2.6 million according to the latest count, she lost to Trump in the Electoral College, the 538-person body chosen state-by-state that actually selects the president.
Trump, who won a projected 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232, takes office on Jan. 20. Neither Stein nor Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson won any Electoral College votes. The three “Rust Belt” states narrowly supported Trump. The New York businessman and former reality TV star who has never previously held public office won by more than 68,000 votes in Pennsylvania and about 11,600 votes in Michigan, according to state figures.
In Michigan on Wednesday, a federal judge halted the recount in its third day by siding with a state appeals court that found Stein did not have grounds to mount the challenge.