By Joseph Ax
The recount effort by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in three U.S. states came to an end on Monday, after weeks of legal wrangling yielded only one electoral review in Wisconsin that favoured Republican winner Donald Trump.A federal judge in Pennsylvania rejected Stein's request for a recount and an examination of that state's voting machines for evidence of hacking in the Nov. 8 election won by Trump.Meanwhile, Wisconsin election officials said on Monday they had completed their 10-day recount after finding that Trump's margin of victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton had increased by 131 votes, bringing Trump's total lead to 22,748."The final Wisconsin vote is in and guess what - we just picked up an additional 131 votes. The Dems and Green Party can now rest. Scam!" Trump said on Twitter.Stein, who finished fourth, challenged the results in those two states as well as Michigan, where the state's top court on Friday denied Stein's last-ditch appeal to keep a recount going. All of those traditionally Democratic strongholds supported Trump over Clinton.
Even if all three recounts had taken place, they were unlikely to change the outcome.Stein argued that the use in many Pennsylvania districts of electronic voting machines with no paper trail left the system vulnerable to hacking.
In a 31-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond in Philadelphia said it "borders on the irrational" to suspect hacking occurred in Pennsylvania. He noted that the deadline to certify the state's electoral votes is Tuesday, making it impossible to hold a recount in time.While there is no evidence of large-scale voting machine hacking, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia targeted Clinton in a series of cyber attacks. Trump has questioned those reports.In response to Diamond's ruling, Stein said in a statement that Pennsylvanians' right to have their votes counted had been "stripped from right under them."
Trump won Pennsylvania by more than 44,000 votes and Michigan by more than 10,000 votes, according to the latest figures.Despite winning the national popular vote by more than 2 percent, Clinton would have had to sweep those states to win the presidency under the U.S. Electoral College system, which assigns electoral votes state-by-state rather than by overall national totals. (Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Timothy McLaughlin in Chicago and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrew Hay and Lisa Shumaker)
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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2016 06:30:08 IST