Michigan Recount Halted as Judge 'Gives In' to Trump and State GOP
'We are not backing down from this fight―a fight to protect the hard-fought, hard-won civil and voting rights of all Americans'
A federal judge on Wednesday effectively ended the ongoing presidential recount in Michigan by lifting the order he previously issued allowing it to move forward.
U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith halted the recount, which began on Monday amid legal challenges, on the grounds that the Green Party's Jill Stein and other plaintiffs "have not presented evidence of tampering or mistake. Instead, they present speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery—but not actual injury."
The ruling seemed to agree with an earlier decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which said that Stein did not have a chance at winning the presidency and therefore wasn't an aggrieved candidate with standing to call for a recount.
Stein's campaign said it was "deeply disappointed" by the decision and would appeal the court's ruling. On Twitter, Stein said Goldsmith "gave in" to President-elect Donald Trump and state Republicans. Trump and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed lawsuits last week to halt the recount, claiming it would pose a financial burden on taxpayers.
"We are not backing down from this fight―a fight to protect the hard-fought, hard-won civil and voting rights of all Americans. Our campaign will seek immediate relief in Michigan's Supreme Court to ensure the recount that is already underway in all Michigan counties continues," said Hayley Horowitz and Jessica Clarke, the Stein campaign's lead attorneys in Michigan, in a statement Wednesday.
"With so many irregularities in Michigan―including more than 75,000 under-votes, many in urban areas, and widespread carelessness, and perhaps interference, with preserving ballots―there is a real possibility the rights of voters in Michigan may have been suppressed during this election," they continued. "By stopping the recount in Michigan, Trump and Michigan Republicans are explicitly stripping the constitutional rights of Michigan voters straight from under them. Worse, they are continuing to undermine confidence in the American political system by denying voters a chance to be reassured that the election results were accurate."
Later Wednesday, the Michigan House approved a $10 million voter ID bill that would require voters to bring photo identification to the polls to cast a ballot or provide one to their clerk's office within 10 days of an election. The bill was approved despite outspoken objections by Democrats who said that the law would disenfranchise minority and low-income voters.
Lonnie Scott, executive director of the advocacy group Progress Michigan, wrote on Twitter Wednesday night, "Don't let [Michigan GOP] lie to you. They contested recount because of cost, are about to spend $10 million to suppress vote. Modern day poll tax."
"What we have seen from the recent recount is that while we have serious problems with how we vote in this state, voter fraud is not one of them. Republicans are merely attempting to put as many barriers to voting as possible in place with this late night rush to ram this legislation through," Scott added in a separate statement. "This is not an attempt at voting reform. This is voter suppression."