Federal Judge Blocks Jill Stein's Pennsylvania Recount Effort
U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond said "suspicion of a 'hacked' Pennsylvania election borders on the irrational"
A federal judge in Philadelphia on Monday ruled against Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein's lawsuit calling for a recount of the state's presidential election ballots as well as an examination of voting machines for signs of hacking.
U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond said "suspicion of a 'hacked' Pennsylvania election borders on the irrational" in a 31-page ruling, dismissing Stein's effort to press forward with the recount.
The judge also argued that it appears impossible for a recount to now meet the deadline for Pennsylvania to certify its election results—which is Tuesday.
The state recount, which Stein requested in late November, was halted after a state judge imposed a $1 million bond on Stein's campaign in order to move forward with it. (President-elect Donald Trump's campaign, which pushed back against all of Stein's recount efforts, had previously requested that the state impose a $10 million bond.) Stein filed the federal lawsuit in response to the "exorbitant" bond.
"The judge's outrageous demand that voters pay such an exorbitant figure is a shameful, unacceptable barrier to democratic participation. No voter in America should be forced to pay thousands of dollars to know if her or his vote was counted," Stein said at the time.
"Dr. Stein has repeatedly stated that she has sought a Pennsylvania recount to ensure that every vote counts," Diamond wrote in his Monday ruling, according to CNN. "Granting her later than last-minute request for relief, however, could well ensure that no Pennsylvania vote counts. Such a result would be both outrageous and completely unnecessary; as I have found, suspicion of a 'hacked' Pennsylvania election borders on the irrational."
The Green Party is undecided as to whether it will appeal the decision.
"But one thing is clear," said a Green Party lawyer, Ilann Maazel, to the Associated Press. "The Pennsylvania election system is not fair to voters and voters don't know if their votes counted, and that's a very large problem."
Stein's push for a recount in Michigan was halted on similar grounds by a different federal judge last week.
Wisconsin, the third state in which Stein requested a recount, is expected to certify the results of its recount late Monday.
Reuters reports that as of "Monday morning, the Wisconsin recount was 95 percent complete and showed Trump with a increase of 628 votes, Clinton with an increase of 653 votes and Stein with an increase of 68 votes."
"Trump won Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan by more than 27,000, 68,000 and 11,000 votes, respectively," the wire service notes.