Politics

Wisconsin Judge Denies Jill Stein's Recount Stipulation

| by Michael Howard
Green Party candidate Jill SteinGreen Party candidate Jill Stein

A county judge in Wisconsin has denied Green Party candidate Jill Stein's call for clerks to recount all of the Election Day ballots by hand.

Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn acknowledged that it would be best for clerks to hand count the ballots, but added that she does not have "any authority" to dictate how the recount is conducted.

Furthermore, she was not swayed by Stein's assertion that Wisconsin's voting machines had been tampered with. Stein had filed a lawsuit asking the court to mandate that each ballot had to be counted by hand.

"I just do not find clear and convincing evidence and that is my decision," Judge Bailey-Rihn said, according to The Associated Press. "I'm going to allow the 19 counties to do the recall the way that they intended. Again, I think everyone would strongly encourage them to do the hand recount."

The recount is to begin Dec. 1 and carries a Dec. 12 deadline. Some clerks had expressed doubt that they would be able to complete the recount by the deadline without using machines.

On Nov. 29, Stein wired $3.5 million to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. That was the amount the Commission said was required to finance the recount efforts. Stein called the sum "exorbitant." She had estimated the cost to be about $1.1 million, the AP reports.

Now, officials are saying there was an error in the Commission's calculations, and that the cost is closer to $3.9 million. Stein will be charged the additional $400,000 at a later date.

In the case, computer scientist J. Alex Halderman testified that voting machines are vulnerable to cyberattacks and can be hacked with screwdrivers. He did not, however, have evidence to suggest that votes had actually been tampered with.

Other experts argued that Wisconsin was a likely target for hackers, since the race was expected to be particularly close between President-elect Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They were correct -- Trump beat Clinton by roughly 22,000 votes in that state.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas testified that all voting machines are federally certified. He said he has confidence in the integrity of the results.

Speaking to CNN Nov. 29, Stein insisted she was not attempting to deny Trump the presidency.

"We don't want to instill the misconception that this is going to flip the vote," she said, according to Politico. "What we're saying is we deserve to have confidence in our vote. We're not here to help one candidate or another."

"I have never taken sides in this election between the two establishment candidates," she added. "So we do not have skin in the game. We're here to stand up for everyday voters who need a better way forward."

Sources: AP via WITI, Politico / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Do you support Stein's recount efforts?
Yes - 0%
Yes - 0%