Focus of recount effort shifts to Michigan, Pennsylvania

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Posted: Dec 05, 2016 5:43 PM
Focus of recount effort shifts to Michigan, Pennsylvania

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Presidential candidate Jill Stein's fight to force ballot recounts in three states focused Monday on Pennsylvania, where her Green Party was seeking an emergency federal court order for a statewide recount, and Michigan, where a hand recount began on the orders of a federal judge.

President-elect Donald Trump narrowly defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in both states and Wisconsin, which started its recount last week. The recounts were not expected to change enough votes to overturn the result of the election.

Stein, who received about 1 percent of the vote in all three states, says her intent is to verify the accuracy of the vote. She has suggested, with no evidence, that votes cast were susceptible to computer hacking.

"Let every vote count," Stein said Monday outside Trump Tower in New York "That's what makes America great."

The news conference, held on busy Fifth Avenue, was repeatedly interrupted by shouts of protest. Several Trump supporters heckled the proceedings, with one yelling, "Jill Stein is a common criminal."

Here's what's happening in each state and in Nevada, where a partial recount of the race was requested by independent presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente:

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WISCONSIN

The recount began Thursday and continued over the weekend, with little change so far in the unofficial results as reported on election night. Six counties had completed their work as of Monday morning, with the margin between Trump and Clinton unchanged. Both candidates lost 20 votes.

A federal lawsuit was filed late last week by a Trump voter and two super PACs seeking to stop the recount. The judge rejected a request to halt the recount while the lawsuit is pending and scheduled a hearing for Friday.

State and local election officials have all said they don't expect Clinton to surpass Trump in Wisconsin, where he won by about 22,000 votes.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said no significant issues have been reported after four full days of recounting and any changes between canvass results and recount totals have been due to human error.

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MICHIGAN

A federal judge late Sunday night in Detroit ordered a statewide hand recount of roughly 4.8 million ballots, which started in some counties Monday afternoon. Republicans appealed that ruling Monday. Trump won the state by about 10,700 votes, or two-tenths of a percentage point, over Clinton.

Stein argued that a law is unconstitutional that requires a break of at least two business days after the Board of Canvassers' final action on a recount request. Judge Mark Goldsmith found that Stein had "shown the likelihood of irreparable harm" if the count was delayed even by two days and rejected the state's arguments about the cost to taxpayers.

Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, the Trump campaign and super PACs have filed separate lawsuits asking state courts to prevent the recount, arguing that Stein, as the fourth-place finisher, is not "aggrieved" because she has no chance of winning in a recount. A hearing is scheduled Tuesday on those actions.

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PENNSYLVANIA

The Green Party filed a federal lawsuit on Monday seeking a statewide recount — a move that came after the party on Saturday dropped a case set to be argued Monday in state courts.

An updated count Friday by state election officials showed Trump's lead shrinking to 49,000 from 71,000 over Clinton, out of 6 million votes cast, as more counties finish counting overseas ballots and settled provisional ballot challenges. That is still shy of Pennsylvania's 0.5 percent trigger for an automatic statewide recount.

Final counts are outstanding in some counties, but there are not enough uncounted votes to change the outcome, officials say.

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NEVADA

A partial recount is underway in Nevada at the request of De La Fuente, who finished last with a fraction of 1 percent of the vote. He paid about $14,000 for the recount to provide what he called a counterbalance to the recounts sought by Stein. Most of the 92 precincts being re-counted are in the Las Vegas area, with eight of the precincts in four other counties. If the sample shows a discrepancy of at least 1 percent for De La Fuente or Clinton, a full recount will be launched in all 17 Nevada counties. Clinton defeated Trump in Nevada by 27,202 votes, out of 1.1 million votes cast. Nevada Secretary of State spokeswoman Gail Anderson said the recount will be finished by the end of this week.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that recounts will be conducted in 92 Nevada precincts, not 93, and that all but eight of them, not all but nine, are in the Las Vegas area.

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Associated Press writers David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Jonathan Lemire in New York City; and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.