Hours after saying that she would halt her effort to force Pennsylvania to recount its statewide votes in the 2016 presidential election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein now says that the recount effort there will go on — if she can persuade a federal judge to slap the state with an emergency order to let the recount move ahead, according to a report late Saturday by the Associated Press.
President-elect Donald Trump won Pennsylvania and its prized 20 electoral votes in a razor-close statewide ballot over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
"Make no mistake, the Stein campaign will continue to fight for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania," lawyer Jonathan Abady, who represents Stein's recount push, said in a prepared statement. "We are committed to this fight to protect the civil and voting rights of all Americans."
Earlier on Saturday, Stein and the Green Party, which has already been successful in facing a recount in Wisconsin, said they were forced to end their effort to recount votes in Pennsylvania after a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ordered Stein to put up a $1 million bond, which she said her recount campaign could not afford.
The Pennsylvania court blocked the recount even after updated vote totals — as ballots throughout the state continue to be tallied — showed that Trump's statewide lead over Clinton had shrunk drastically, dropping from an approximate 71,000-vote lead to just about 49,000.
In Wisconsin, which carries 10 electoral votes, Trump edged Clinton by just 22,177 votes — or 0.7 percentage points. But Michigan, where Stein is also seeking a recount, was the closest of the three states with Trump winning by only 10,700 votes, or 0.2 points.
Currently, with just over two weeks to go before the Electoral College votes on December 19 — and just 10 days to the recount deadlines of December 13 — Trump stands as the apparent winner of the election with 306 electoral votes to 232 for Clinton.
The recount efforts appear to have Trump and his legal team in a panic, as they have mobilized to put a halt to Stein's push to revise the results of the election in the three key swing states. If the recounts resulted in Clinton winning the three states after all, the revised electoral vote totals would become 278 for Clinton, 260 for Trump.
As a result, Clinton would then become the winner of the presidential election and president-elect — pending the Electoral College vote.
Perhaps because the Michigan vote, which provided Trump with 16 crucial electoral votes, was the closest of the three, Trump has focused his efforts to block the recounts on that state. But on Friday, that state's elections board tied a vote on whether the recount should be stopped. The stalemate — with the board's two Republican members voting to stop the recount and two Democrats voting to continue — means that the recount will proceed starting possibly as early as Tuesday.
But Clinton would need to win all three states in the recounts for the results of the election to be reversed.
Clinton lost the Electoral College, even though she won the overall national popular vote by a significant margin. As of late Saturday with ballots in California and other states — including Pennsylvania — still being counted, Clinton held a lead of 2,567,625 votes, 1.9 percentage points. That percentage gap is greater than the victory margin of 10 elected presidents in the 49 American presidential elections in which the popular vote was counted.
In the first nine U.S. presidential elections, the popular vote was not recorded.
Trump and his lawyers had also attempted to halt the Wisconsin recount, but a federal judge, on Friday, rejected their petition, saying that no harm could come from allowing the recount to proceed.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]