A federal judge has ordered an immediate recount of the state of Michigan's presidential votes.
The Detroit Free Press reports that Green Party candidate Jill Stein has won a request for an immediate recount in the state, after U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith held a rare hearing in federal court where he declared that Stein had shown "a credible threat that the recount, if delayed, would not be completed" by Dec. 13, the deadline for counting Michigan’s electoral votes.
"With the perceived integrity of the presidential election as it was conducted in Michigan at stake, concerns with cost pale in comparison," Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith essentially ordered the recount to begin two days ahead of schedule, due to concerns over not completing it in time.
Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, said that she is "outraged that Jill Stein is trying to use the courts to change the outcome of the Michigan election" after "all votes were counted and certified by the Board of Canvassers."
“This recount is an incredible waste of Michigan taxpayers' money," and "we will vigorously pursue any and all options available to us to overturn this ruling and to end this recount,” she added.
Mark Brewer, an attorney representing Stein, said that "this is a victory for the voters of Michigan."
Stein is seeking recounts in three battleground states, including Michigan. However, she has noted that she does not expect the results of the recounts to affect the outcome of the election. Stein claims she simply wants to test the efficacy of the voting systems. Skeptics claim this is all a publicity stunt for future campaigns. Stein finished fourth in the general election, as well as in Michigan, where she garnered just over 1 percent of the vote.
Goldsmith heard arguments for and against advancing the recount and decided there was concern enough over finishing in a timely manner to warrant the go-ahead.
The recount will reportedly cost Michigan taxpayers up to $5 million, in addition to the money Stein had to put up for the recount to take place. Some have questioned the decision to recount ballots, given that Stein herself has admitted that there is no direct evidence of any voter misconduct.
Yet Stein remains undeterred. A similar recount effort is being pushed in nearby Pennsylvania. According to CNN, Stein has decided to "escalate" her recount effort in the state, after originally deciding to scrap the plan.
“We are committed to this fight to protect the civil and voting rights of all Americans,” said Jonathan Abady, lead counsel for the Stein recount campaign. “Over the past several days, it has become clear that the barriers to verifying the vote in Pennsylvania are so pervasive and that the state court system is so ill-equipped to address this problem that we must seek federal court intervention.”
Stein berated the economic hurdle to sparking a recount effort:
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. By demanding a $1 million bond from voters yesterday, the court made clear it has no interest in giving a fair hearing to these voters' legitimate concerns over the accuracy, security and fairness of an election tainted by suspicion.