By Marc Levy
Donald Trump’s victory in Wisconsin was reaffirmed Monday following a recount that showed him defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton by more than 22,000 votes.
Wisconsin finalized its recount on the same day that a federal judge issued a stinging rejection of a Green Party-backed request to recount paper ballots in Pennsylvania’s presidential election and scan some counties’ election systems for signs of hacking.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein successfully requested, and paid for, the Wisconsin recount while her attempts for similar statewide recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan were blocked by the courts. Stein only got about 1 percent of the vote in each of the states that Trump narrowly won on his way to the White House. She argued, without evidence, that voting machines in all three states were susceptible to hacking.
The numbers barely budged in Wisconsin after nearly 3 million votes were recounted. Trump picked up a net 162 votes and still won by more than 22,000 votes. The final results changed just 0.06 percent.
In Pennsylvania, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond said there were at least six grounds that required him to reject the Green Party’s lawsuit, which had been opposed by Trump, the Pennsylvania Republican Party and the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.
Suspicion of a hacked Pennsylvania election “borders on the irrational” while granting the Green Party’s recount bid could “ensure that no Pennsylvania vote counts” given Tuesday’s federal deadline to certify the vote for the Electoral College, wrote Diamond, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, a Republican.
“Most importantly, there is no credible evidence that any ‘hack’ occurred, and compelling evidence that Pennsylvania’s voting system was not in any way compromised,” Diamond wrote. He also said the lawsuit suffered from a lack of standing, potentially the lack of federal jurisdiction and an “unexplained, highly prejudicial” wait before filing last week’s lawsuit, four weeks after the Nov. 8 election.
The decision was the Green Party’s latest roadblock in Pennsylvania after hitting numerous walls in county and state courts. Green Party-backed lawyers argue that it was possible that computer hackers changed the election outcome and that Pennsylvania’s heavy use of paperless machines makes it a prime target. Stein also contended that Pennsylvania has erected unconstitutional barriers to voters seeking a recount.
A lawyer for the Green Party said Monday they were disappointed and unable to immediately say whether they would appeal.
“But one thing is clear,” said the lawyer, Ilann Maazel. “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.”
In Pennsylvania, Trump beat Clinton in Pennsylvania by about 44,000 votes out of 6 million cast.
A federal judge halted Michigan’s recount last week after three days. Trump won Michigan by fewer than 11,000 votes out of nearly 4.8 million votes cast.