Recount begins in Michigan; Greens sue in Pennsylvania | News | DW | 05.12.2016
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Recount begins in Michigan; Greens sue in Pennsylvania

A recount of presidential ballots has begun in the US state of Michigan. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has sued in federal court to try to force a statewide vote recount in Pennsylvania.

The US battleground of Michigan has begun recounting presidential ballots on the orders of a federal judge. Mark Goldsmith, of Michigan's Eastern District, issued his written order early Monday.

Goldsmith ordered that, once started, the recount "must continue until further order of this court." In his ruling, the judge wrote that "budgetary concerns are not sufficiently significant to risk the disenfranchisement of Michigan's nearly 5 million voters."

On Friday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican like President-elect Donald Trump (pictured), sued to halt the recount. The former reality show host won Michigan by roughly 10,700 votes - less than a quarter of a percentage point.

The 18th-century technicality

Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 US presidential election despite receiving 2.5 million fewer votes than his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. However the United States chooses its presidents through the Electoral College, or a tally of wins from the state-by-state contests, rather than by the popular national vote.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein seeks an emergency federal court order for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania, where Trump is thought to have received 49,000 votes more than Clinton. On Saturday, a state judge dealt Stein's accountability efforts a setback, ordering her campaign to post a bond of $1 million (930,000 euros) to cover the costs of ensuring that the US's elections system had not been tampered with.

Wisconsin's recount began December 1. Trump received about 22,000 votes more than Clinton in the Midwestern state. So far no significant change has been reported in the results.

Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin handed Trump narrow wins that ultimately gave him victory over Clinton, the former US secretary of state. The self-proclaimed billionaire, who has sought bankruptcy protection for at least six businesses, received 306 electoral votes, surpassing the 270 needed to win, and the recounts would have to flip all three states to enable Clinton to change the overall result.

Stein, who garnered only about 1 percent of the vote, has said the recount campaign did not target Trump or Clinton. However, lawyers working for Trump have fought to suppress the recounts. Despite voicing worries several times before the vote that the election could be tampered with and then later declaring that it had been, Trump has denounced Stein's effort as a fundraising "scam" for the Green Party.

mkg/se (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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