Stein takes Pa. recount case to federal court

    Workers prepare voting machines at the Office of the  City Commissioner's warehouse the day before the recount of votes in 75 precincts was set to begin. (Brad Larrison for NewsWorks)

    Workers prepare voting machines at the Office of the City Commissioner's warehouse the day before the recount of votes in 75 precincts was set to begin. (Brad Larrison for NewsWorks)

    Lawyers for Green Party candidate Jill Stein will go to federal court today after a dramatic change of course over the weekend in their quest for a recount in Pennsylvania’s presidential vote.

    The Stein camp on Saturday suddenly withdrew its statewide challenge to Pennsylvania’s presidential vote, citing a $1 million bond required by the court to proceed. A few hours later the campaign announced it would take its case to federal court, making a constitutional argument for a recount.

    What will they say?

    “We’re going to tell them that 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,” said Jonathan Abady, an attorney for the Stein campaign, who will making the case in federal court.

    Abady said the $1 million bond is an example of an onerous burden placed on voters looking for a fair recount of votes. He will be asking not just for a recount, but for a forensic audit of voting machines to look for evidence of cyber hacking.

    The Stein filings have presented no evidence of tampering with the vote in Pennsylvania. Instead they argue that machines are vulnerable to hacking, and that there’s plenty of evidence of foreign attempts to influence the election.

    “We’re not proceeding here based on pure speculation,” Abady said. “There’s well founded concern and the only way to determine it is to verify the vote.”

    Lawrence Tabas, general Counsel to the state Republican Party, said last week the Stein campaign’s claim is worthy of an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

    “These claims that have been brought about some unknown foreign government somehow hacking our machines simply because the pre-election day polls showed that Hillary Clinton was going to win is not only absurd, but it is an insult to the American electorate,” Tabas said.

    Sunday, Tabas said it was clear Stein was going to lose in Commonwealth Court. “They’re out shopping for another court to hear their meritless claims,” he said.

    Stein will hold a news conference Monday morning on the status of her recount efforts in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

    Abady will ask the court to move quickly. Pennsylvania is supposed to name the presidential electors on December 13th.

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