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Trump supporters challenge presidential vote recount in three states

Influential supporters of President-elect Donald Trump have moved to halt the recounts of presidential votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Trump won each of the states by a relatively small margin.

Michigan's state attorney, Bill Schuette, on Friday filed a lawsuit aimed at preventing the scheduled presidential vote recount in his state.

He said that Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who requested the recount in the "Rust Belt" states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, won far too few votes to necessitate a recount.

"Michigan voters rejected Stein's candidacy by massive margins, but her refusal to accept that state-verified result poses an expensive and risky threat to hard-working taxpayers and abuses the intent of Michigan law," Schuette said in a statement. Stein won 1 percent of the vote.

The Trump campaign's own attorneys had already filed an objection with Michigan state officials on Thursday. "On the basis of nothing more than speculation, Stein asks that Michigan residents endure an expensive, time-consuming recount," the campaign's filing read.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, where the recount is already underway, voter Ronald R. Johnson and two pro-Trump political action committees - Great America PAC and Stop Hilary PAC - on Friday asked a federal judge to halt the recount in the state. In the court filing, they described the process as a "sham."

"There is no prospect that the recount will change the outcome of the election with result to Stein. At best, this is nothing more than a fundraising stunt for her," the filing read. It cited the US Supreme Court's Bush vs. Gore decision, which ended the 2000 election and a recount process in Florida, as legal precedent.

They contend that the recount is unconstitutional as it fails to satisfy equal protection requirements. Further, if the recount is not complete by December 13, the federal deadline to certify the vote, it risks putting Wisconsin's electoral votes in jeopardy.

Unless the court intervenes, the recount is scheduled to continue.

Trump and his supporters have filed a similar petition to block the recount effort in Pennsylvania, which he also won by a margin of less than 1 percent.

Stein undeterred

Despite the legal challenges, Stein plans to persist with recounts in the states. Her lead counsel Matthew Brinckerhoff said their push for a recount in Wisconsin and further afield would continue. "Citizens in Wisconsin and across the country have made it clear that they want a recount and deserve to see this process through to ensure integrity in the vote," he said.

Stein has raised a total $6.8 million to fund the recounts across the three states. She said that Republican Trump's slim victory in traditionally Democrat states made a renewed tally necessary. Trump bested Democrat Hillary Clinton by some 27,000 votes in Wisconsin, 10,700 votes in Michigan and 49,000 in Pennsylvania.

The Green Party has said it is seeking to ensure the integrity of the US voting system, and is not intent on changing the election result. "Verifying the vote through this recount is the only way to confirm that every vote has been counted securely and accurately and is not compromised by machine or human error, or by tampering or hacking," Stein said in a statement Thursday. "The recount does not benefit one candidate over another."

Clinton's lawyers have said they will partake in the Wisconsin recount effort. The former candidate's team will also do the same in Michigan and Pennsylvania if necessary, they said.

A court in Pennsylvania is scheduled to hear Stein's case for a state-wide recount there on Monday.

dm/gsw (Reuters, AP)

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