Election 2017

Donald Trump, PA GOP to judge: You must stop Jill Stein’s recount

They call her “the 1% candidate.”

Left: President-elect Donald Trump. Right: Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Left: President-elect Donald Trump. Right: Green Party candidate Jill Stein.


The Republican party of Pennsylvania and the Donald Trump campaign have filed in Pennsylvania court to stop a lawsuit that could result in a statewide recount of the presidential election votes.

Attorneys representing the party, the Trump campaign and his electors in PA filed Thursday in Commonwealth Court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by lawyers funded by Jill Stein. She’s the Green Party presidential candidate on a crusade to have statewide recounts performed in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — all three swing states that were narrowly won by President-elect Trump. Earlier today, the Michigan attorney general sued to stop Stein’s efforts there.

In the 85-page filing, lawyers call Stein “the 1% candidate” who came in fourth place in virtually every state she was on the ballot in. They say she doesn’t have any proof that the elections process in Pennsylvania was compromised in any way. Stein and her supporters argue (but provide no evidence) that the results of the election could have been hacked; Stein herself has admitted that there’s no data to support that.

As her lawsuit for a statewide recount is making its way through the courts, hundreds of people across the state filed for smaller, precinct-level recounts at the county level. If those recounts yield anything that appears to be voter fraud, the Stein campaign could theoretically use it as evidence in their case.

But Pennsylvania law is clear: Candidates petitioning for a statewide recount must show probable cause that significant voter fraud occurred in some way. The PA GOP and the Trump campaign contend she hasn’t proven that and won’t prove that, writing in their most recent filing that “petitioners cannot meet these standards by merely alleging a belief that illegality may have occurred… petitioners have done nothing more than put forward a theory — a mere guess — about how illegality may have occurred.”

In its original lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 100 voters, the Stein campaign asked for a full statewide recount of the vote in every county based on several issues, including the findings of data scientist Alex Halderman, the hacks into internal DNC communications, alleged attempted hacks in Illinois and Arizona and the fact that pre-election polls differed from the results. The voters who are part of the lawsuit stated they also want a recount to determine whether any hacking of Pennsylvania’s electronic voting machines took place, though PA officials say the system is secure.

The PA GOP and the Trump campaign also contend that Stein should be required to post a $10 million bond to cover the costs of the recount.

Attorneys are scheduled to appear at a hearing Monday in Harrisburg to argue the case, though Stein’s camp has filed for an extension until after all counties certify election results. The chances of a statewide recount happening in Pennsylvania are slim, and the chances of a recount ending in an overturned result are even slimmer. Though Hillary Clinton lost Pennsylvania by just 46,000 votes, recounts have historically yielded differences of just a few hundred votes, at most.

The only way a statewide recount could take place other than Stein winning her lawsuit would be if the race were even closer. In Pennsylvania, votes must be recounted in races with margins less than 0.5 percent. A 0.5 percent margin in Pennsylvania this year would have been about 30,000 votes. Trump’s 46,000-vote win put him about 0.8 percent above Clinton.

Here’s the full filing from the PA GOP and the Trump campaign:

Want some more? Explore other Election 2017 stories.

Thanks for reading another Billy Penn story

Seems you’re the kind of person who really digs in. Want more? Sign up for our free morning newsletter, the easy way to stay on top of Philly news.

Thanks for reading Billy Penn

Like the story above, everything we publish is powered by our members. If you enjoy reading, join today: Just $5/month makes more difference than you’d think.

Thanks for reading! We need you.

Reader donations power our newsroom. If Billy Penn helps you feel more connected to Philly, we’d love to count you as a member. Will you join us?

Lock in your support

Reader support powers our newsroom. A monthly membership helps lock it in.

Can we count on you as a Billy Penn sustainer?

Winning the local journalism game

Thank you: Member support powers our newsroom.

Know someone else who might like our work? Invite them to sign up for our free morning newsletter.