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Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.
Jill Stein’s last-ditch attempt for a Pennsylvania recount has been denied.
Federal judge Paul S. Diamond dismissed the Green Party candidate’s latest request in a ruling this morning, saying in his conclusion that “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 lack of hacking was just one of the reasons Diamond dismissed the suit. He also cited a long delay in filing the lawsuit, and ruled that Stein didn’t have standing to sue.
On Friday, the computer science expert whose opinions catapulted presidential election recounts into the national spotlight admitted in a Philly courtroom there’s no evidence the state’s voting systems were hacked. Meanwhile, an expert witness testifying on behalf of the GOP — which is working to protect electors for President-elect Donald Trump — said the likelihood that Pennsylvania’s voting system was hacked is about as likely as aliens living among us: It’s possible, but there’s no evidence to show it’s happening.
Diamond heard testimony from computer science experts and oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein against the Pennsylvania Dept. of State. Stein’s campaign was on a crusade to force presidential election recounts in Pennsylvania, as well as in Michigan and Wisconsin — all three states that were won by Trump. The Michigan recount was halted by another federal judge last week.
Diamond questioned the purpose of Stein’s lawsuit and her strategy throughout the 31-page ruling. He wrote about how in Friday’s court session the defendants “argued persuasively” that Stein lacked standing to sue.
“Remarkably,” Diamond wrote, “plaintiffs did not respond. Even though Dr. Stein was present and could have testified as to why she is an aggrieved party with standing to seek a recount, she was not called.”
The judge also wrote he was puzzled by Stein’s actions after filing a lawsuit with Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court. Diamond wrote the suit was withdrawn after a $1 million bond was imposed, but the lower court told Stein’s side it would modify the bond amount with good cause, and Stein’s side never bothered to ask to reduce it.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Stein’s recount attempt for Diamond was the timing. He wrote Stein provided no good reason for waiting until Nov. 28 to file the Commonwealth Court lawsuit and Dec. 5 to file the federal lawsuit, knowing the Pennsylvania vote had to be certified by Dec. 13.
“Once again, in the run up to Election Day, Dr. Stein had the right under the Election Code to be present or to have a technical expert be present on her behalf, for the testing of the voting machines and the counting of the ballots,” Diamond wrote. “The only relevant fact unknown to Plaintiffs before the election was its outcome. Yet, Dr. Stein then waited nearly three weeks, until November 28, to file the Commonwealth Court contest petition and the County Board recount petitions.”
This federal suit was the second attempt by Stein at a major recount. She had originally filed the aforementioned suit in Commonwealth Court and sought to produce evidence for it through county-level recounts brought forth by three Pennsylvania voters in each voting district. Some of those recounts did occur, such as here in Philadelphia. Last week, the Board of Elections did recounts in 75 districts and credited Hillary Clinton with five more votes than were originally counted. It did not find any evidence of voter fraud or hacking.
Stein could technically appeal the Federal judge’s ruling but don’t expect that to happen. Time is running out. Pennsylvania’s Electors must certify their results by Tuesday.
This is probably, finally, the end of Jill Stein’s Pennsylvania recount.