A Green Party-backed campaign changed its strategy to force a statewide recount of Pennsylvania’s Nov. 8 presidential election, won by Republican Donald Trump, and said late Saturday night that it will seek help in the federal courts, rather than the state courts. The announcement that it would seek an emergency federal court order on Monday for a recount came hours after it dropped a case in the state courts. “Make no mistake — the Stein campaign will continue to fight for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania,” recount campaign lawyer Jonathan Abady said in a statement issued around 11:30 p.m. “We are committed to this fight to protect the civil and voting rights of all Americans.” In the statement, Abady said barriers to a recount in Pennsylvania are pervasive and the state court system is ill-equipped to address the problem.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has framed the campaign as an effort to explore whether voting machines and systems had been hacked and the election result manipulated. Stein’s lawyers, however, had offered no evidence of hacking in Pennsylvania’s election, and the state Republican Party and Trump had asked the court to dismiss the state court case.
The decision came two days before a state court hearing was scheduled in the case. Saturday’s court filing to withdraw the case said the Green Party-backed voters who filed it “are regular citizens of ordinary means” and cannot afford the $1 million bond ordered by the court by 5 p.m. Monday. Green Party-backed efforts to force recounts and analyze election software in scattered precincts were continuing.
The case in Pennsylvania court has been part of an effort spearheaded by Stein to force recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, three states with a history of backing Democrats for president that were narrowly and unexpectedly won by Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton.