Federal appeals court won't stop Michigan recount; state appeals court rejects recount

A federal appeals court ruled it won't stop the recount of Michigan's presidential votes.

In a 2-1 decision Tuesday, the court upheld a decision by a Detroit federal judge who on Monday ordered the recount to start immediately instead of waiting until mid-week.

But the Michigan appeals court rejected the recount after hearing arguments on a request to stop it. This leaves the ballot counting in legal limbo. One thing some experts have said we can expect, is more court action forthcoming.

The state appeals court says it was not deciding the merits of the recount, only the timing and how it relates to voting rights under the U.S. Constitution. Separately, the recount is being opposed by the Trump campaign in Michigan state court.

The state decision pleased Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

"I'm grateful, and I know Michigan taxpayers agree, that the Michigan Court of Appeals has adhered to the rule of law and clarity in our Michigan statute in agreeing that Jill Stein is not an aggrieved candidate and the recall must stop."

The recount was requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who concedes she can't win Michigan but has concerns about accuracy. Republican Donald Trump narrowly defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Michigan. Attorneys for Trump argue that Stein has no right to a recount because she finished fourth.

Michigan Republican Party chair Ronna Romney McDaniel also weighed in on the court decisions saying that the state ruling should be adhered to.

"This is a win for Michigan taxpayers," she said in a statement. "The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in our favor, determining that the petition for recount filed by Dr. Jill Stein should have been denied. Dr, Stein is not an aggrieved candidate as she has no chance of winning the election in Michigan.

"The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made clear in their ruling that "if subsequently the Michigan courts determine that Plaintiffs' recount is improper under Michigan state law for any reason, we expect the districit court to entertain any properly filed motions to dissolve or modify its order in this case."

Lawyers for Republican Donald Trump and the state's Republican attorney general say Green Party candidate Jill Stein shouldn't have been allowed to request a recount because she finished so far back, with about 1 percent of the vote, that she couldn't win even if some votes were miscounted.

Trump narrowly defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Michigan and two other states where Stein requested recounts, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Stein's attorney, Mark Brewer, argued Tuesday that she's "going to bat" for voters to ensure that their votes were properly counted.

Meanwhile, Michigan's recount has started this week in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein could be forced to pay the entire cost of Michigan's statewide recount under a bill advancing in the state Legislature.

The Republican-controlled House Elections Committee approved the legislation Tuesday. It would require any candidate who loses by more than 5 percentage points to pay 100 percent of the estimated cost of the recount.

Those candidates now pay $125 per precinct, which is Stein's case is nearly $1 million. Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has said the recount may cost $5 million.

The bill would retroactively apply to Stein. Democrats voting against the measure questioned the constitutionality of changing the rules "in the middle of the game."

The sponsor, Republican state Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, says taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill for "frivolous" recounts.


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