• WisPolitics

Friday, December 9, 2016

 9:38 AM 

Federal judge rejects request to halt presidential results recount

A federal judge this morning rejected a request to halt the recount of nearly 3 million ballots cast in Wisconsin's presidential race.

Judge James Peterson told lawyers for Great America PAC and the Stop Hillary PAC, both of which back Donald Trump, their request to stop the recount was "so clearly unwarranted" and there's never been indication it's flawed.

“It is crystal to me that I don’t have the basis for stopping the recount,” Peterson said.

The PACs raised concerns in their suit the recount could push past the deadline to certify Wisconsin’s election results so its 10 electoral votes could be cast for Trump. But the state’s top election official expressed confidence after the hearing the recount would wrap up by Monday’s deadline.

The state Elections Commission said yesterday that with 82 percent of the ballots already recounted, Hillary Clinton had only gained 61 votes, far from overcoming Trump’s original lead of 22,177.

Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas told reporters after the hearing the case “did not seem like a close call to us in the first place” and that election officials are in the “home stretch” of finishing the recount.

“We’re happy that there was not an additional complication thrown in at the end,” he said.

Counties face a deadline of 8 p.m. Monday to submit their recount results to the Elections Commission, though Haas says the state’s 72 counties will all meet that deadline and that most have already done so. The next day, the state faces a federal deadline to certify the results. And the following Monday, Wisconsin’s 10 electors are scheduled to meet to cast their votes for Trump.

The pro-Trump groups said the timeline left “very little margin for error in case problems arise” in any of the counties that haven’t yet wrapped up their recount. That would not leave enough time to file a lawsuit if a problem arises. There’s “little need” for the recount to continue since the results so far have “simply confirmed the accuracy” of the election night outcome, they said.

They also argued Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who requested the recount, should “not be permitted to attempt to unilaterally destroy” the chances for Wisconsin’s electoral college votes counting by filing a lawsuit that could hold up the results.

“This Court should not allow a candidate who received 1 percent of the vote to inject such baseless uncertainty and doubt onto the results and legitimacy of the election,” they wrote in a brief filed ahead of today’s hearing.

A lawyer for the state DOJ, representing the Elections Commission, called that a “hypothetical concern” and asked Peterson to let the recount wrap up.

“It is on time. It is going smoothly,” DOJ attorney Mike Murphy said.

Peterson agreed, saying that even if someone appeals the recount results, the state’s electoral votes will still get counted and the legal process would continue later.

“It wouldn’t stop the Electoral College from electing Mr. Trump as the president. … The country would continue to proceed, Mr. Trump would take office, and that would be fine, and then we would continue if there were an appeal,” Peterson said.

Peterson rejected the pro-Trump groups’ request for an injunction blocking the recount, adding  he may dismiss it for a lack of standing in the coming days.

Debra Greenberger, a Stein attorney, told reporters after the hearing the campaign was “very pleased” with Peterson’s decision.

And Haas, the Elections Commission administrator, said any lawsuit that happens after the recount wraps up is “really out of our control at that point.”

The recount, he said, will be a “positive learning experience” and has flagged several minor issues that the commission will then use to train the state’s 1,854 municipal clerks and 72 county clerks.

“It’s been a huge inconvenience, of course, for clerks,” Haas said. “It’s been a challenge, but the last five years, we’ve seen our state and local election officials step up to every challenge and get things done. So I’m really pleased and proud.”

-- By Polo Rocha

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout. 

Back to Election Blog main page

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

Election Blog site feed

wispolitics.com Social News

Follow Us


Updates from WisPolitics.com on primary and general elections in Wisconsin.

Editor: JR Ross
Reporters: Chris Thompson, David Wise

· Election Blog site feed


· Campaign ads
· Audio archive
· Government Accountability Board (state elections)
· Federal Election Commission (federal elections)


· February 2007
· April 2007
· February 2008
· March 2008
· April 2008
· September 2008
· October 2008
· November 2008
· February 2009
· April 2009
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· September 2010
· November 2010
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· August 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· June 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
· September 2016
· October 2016
· November 2016
· December 2016
· January 2017
· February 2017
Copyright ©2012 WisPolitics.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisBusiness.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications