As President-elect Donald Trump and his allies attempt to block recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Jill Stein will bring the battle over the “Rust Belt” to federal court. The Green Party candidate and her lawyers said late Saturday night they will seek an emergency federal court order on Monday for a recount in Pennsylvania. The announcement came hours after Dr. Stein dropped a case in a Pennsylvania court because a state judge ordered the campaign post a $1 million bond for a statewide recount to proceed. Recounts are underway in some Pennsylvania counties and in Wisconsin. They could begin in Michigan next week, barring court action. It is highly unlikely the recounts will upend the results of the presidential election, as Hillary Clinton would need to win all three states to reverse Mr. Trump’s victory Nov. 8. But Stein’s efforts to audit the vote and the Trump side’s attempts to block it are shaping up to be a battle over the integrity of the election. Stein has said the recount is necessary to ensure “the integrity and accuracy of the vote,” suggesting voting machines were susceptible to hacking. Trump and his allies have called the recount effort a “scam,” saying it could undermine or call into the question the votes of millions.
The Green Party-backed efforts for a recount in these three states are in response to Trump winning the traditionally Democratic states by the slimmest of margins. Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania has shrunk to 49,000, from 71,000. That puts his lead at 0.8 percent there, down from over 1 percent, out of 6 million votes cast. In Michigan, Trump won with a margin of about 10,700 votes over Clinton. In Wisconsin, he won by a margin of roughly 22,000 votes over Clinton.
A victory in any of the three states are a key step to the White House. But Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, would have to have the results overturned in all three states in order to overturn Trump’s victory, an outcome Edward Foley, director of the Election Law Project at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, told The New York Times is “essentially zero or infinitesimal.”