Montco Judge Rejects Presidential Vote Recount Plea

Common Pleas Judge Bernard Moore reportedly gave no explanation for his ruling.

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A Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge on Wednesday dismissed Green Party candidate Jill Stein‘s plea for a presidential vote recount in the county. 

Judge Bernard Moore rejected the Stein campaign’s bid without explanation, according to the Inquirer. Petitions had reportedly been filed in 72 of the county’s 425 precincts.

It’s one setback in the campaign’s effort to seek a recount in Pennsylvania, where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by roughly 71,000 votes. A Commonwealth Court hearing on the matter is set for December 5th.

Rather than provide specific evidence of skewed data, Stein campaign attorney Ilann Maazel reportedly contended in court that the only way to rule out voter fraud is to carry out a recount and examination of the election.

Republican Party of Pennsylvania general counsel Lawrence Tabas and county solicitor Nicole Forzato claimed that the vote recount petitions filed by more than a hundred voters in the county were invalid because they did not include the required $50 fee, according to NewsWorks. But Maazel claimed the petitions were in fact filed with larger fees – $250 each – because county election board officials told petitioners they had to be filed with the Prothonotary’s Office.

Forzato, who reportedly called the petitions “nothing more than a fishing expedition,” argued that the voting machines couldn’t be hacked because they aren’t connected to the internet.

Stein’s campaign has raised millions of dollars to cover the cost of a recount in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Voters across the state have filed petitions seeking a recount in their home counties.

Officials in Chester County are reviewing petitions for recounts in 139 of its 228 precincts, according to the Inquirer. Philadelphia’s Board of Elections will meet today to discuss petitions for recounts in 82 of its 1,686 divisions, the newspaper reports.

During an interview yesterday, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell said that the effort is a “big waste of time,” according to the Associated Press. “Believe me, if there was anything I could do to make Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States, I would,” Rendell said.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.