Philly judge denies Stein request to examine voting machines

Philadelphia voting machines are stored at the Office of the City Commissioners warehouse. (Brad Larrison for NewsWorks)

Philadelphia voting machines are stored at the Office of the City Commissioners warehouse. (Brad Larrison for NewsWorks)

A Philadelphia judge has refused the request of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein to do a digital audit of a small fraction of the city’s voting machines.

It’s the latest setback for Stein’s recount effort in Pennsylvania.

Stein’s gotten nowhere trying to get a statewide recount of the presidential vote aside from a few instances where individual voters petitioned for recounts in their home precincts. That happened for about 4 percent of Philadelphia’s polling places,

Elections officials just took another look at the machine numbers, but refused Stein’s computer experts access to voting software to probe for evidence of hacking.

The campaign took the matter to court; after a hearing, Common Pleas Judge Abbe Fletman Wednesday issued a swift decision — they cannot open up the machines.

In a five-page opinion, Fletman found that that while election code permits a party to “examine” voting machines in a recount, that doesn’t include what the Stein campaign asked for, “a forensic examination of the DRE [direct electronic record] electronic voting system used in the 75 election districts.”

Stein’s lawyers still have one card to play with a hearing in their federal lawsuit set for Friday.

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