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Sunday, August 20, 2017

(Reuters) – A federal judge in Michigan on Wednesday revoked his order requiring a recount of the state’s presidential vote sought by Jill Stein, siding with a state appeals court that found the Green Party candidate had no grounds to mount the challenge.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling has the effect of halting the recount in Michigan, at least for now, following conflicting rulings a day earlier by federal and state appeals courts.

The Michigan Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the recount stopped, while the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Goldsmith’s earlier decision and said the process should proceed. The dueling rulings had both sides claiming victory but left the future of Stein’s bid unclear.

Goldsmith, in deferring to the Michigan appeals court, said Stein had not presented valid reasons for him to override that court’s decision, which found that she was not an “aggrieved” candidate with standing to demand a recount.

The Stein campaign said in a statement following Goldsmith’s ruling that it had appealed again, to the Michigan Supreme Court, and sought to disqualify two justices there because they had been mentioned by Republican President-elect Donald Trump as potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“In a huge victory for Michigan taxpayers and the rule of law, this recount is stopped,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican who opposes the recount, said in a statement.

In addition to Michigan, Stein is trying to have the votes from the Nov. 8 presidential election recounted in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. All three states were key to Trump’s victory.

The recounts are extremely unlikely to change the outcome of the election. But Stein, who got only about 1 percent of the vote, has said that they are necessary to ensure the integrity of voting systems.

Losing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign has said it will take part in the recounts.

Stein sued in federal court in Pennsylvania on Monday to try to force a statewide recount of presidential votes there.

In a setback for Stein’s team, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday denied a full forensic analysis of the city’s voting machines and their software. Stein’s team had argued that such an analysis was the only way to guarantee the accuracy of the city’s election results.

“The court’s decision will deny voters the chance to know the truth about this election,” Ilann Maazel, lead counsel for Stein’s campaign recount effort in Pennsylvania, said in a written statement.

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

IMAGE: Kent Mesplay and Jill Stein speaking at the Green Party Presidential Candidate Town Hall hosted by the Green Party of Arizona at the Mesa Public Library in Mesa, Arizona. Flickr/Gage Skidmore