Stein Shifts Pennsylvania Recount Effort to Federal Court

The campaign withdrew its statewide challenge on Saturday after a judge requested a $1 million bond to proceed.

Photo by

Photo by

Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her campaign will take the plea for a presidential vote recount in Pennsylvania to federal court.

In a surprising move, the campaign withdrew its statewide challenge in Pennsylvania on Saturday after a judge requested a $1 million bond.

Jonathan Abady, an attorney for the Stein campaign who will appear in federal court, told NewsWorks that the campaign dropped its statewide efforts because “the landscape in Pennsylvania is so corrupt and disorganized and unworkable that it’s unconstitutional, and incapable of rendering the type of relief that’s necessary.”

Abady said the required bond places an undue burden those seeking a recount, though the campaign claims to have raised more than $7 million through fundraising efforts since it first announced its intention to seek a recount in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, citing experts’ speculations of cyber attacks on electronic voting machines.

President-elect Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton in the state by roughly 48,000 votes, or by about .8 percent, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of State. Had the lead been .5 percent or less, a Pennsylvania recount would have been triggered automatically. A hearing on the statewide effort is set for Monday in Commonwealth Court.

Both the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and the Donald Trump campaign had filed in state court to stop the lawsuit, following in the footsteps of Michigan’s attorney general.

Recounts were already underway in some counties where voters had filed petitions, including Philadelphia. A recount of 75 of the county’s roughly 1,600 precincts, or less than 5 percent of the county’s precincts, resulted in virtually no changes to votes, city commissioner Al Schmidt told NBC10. Results were similar in Lehigh County. A judge dismissed the Stein campaign’s plea for a recount in Montgomery County last week.

So far, the Stein campaign has made its case on the grounds that polls could have been tampered with rather than by citing specific evidence of manipulation. Some Republicans and Democrats are backing her efforts, while former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell reportedly called the recount effort “a big waste of time” last week.

Lawrence J. Tabas, the general counsel of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, said the campaign’s decision to drop its statewide case indicates that its efforts are “completely without merit,” the New York Times reports. “They’re out shopping for another court to hear their meritless claims,” Tabas said, according to NewsWorks.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.