Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – Green Party candidate Jill Stein abruptly dropped her petition for a recount of all votes cast in the U.S. presidential election in Pennsylvania after a judge ordered her campaign to post a $1 million bond, court documents showed on Saturday.

The bond was set by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania a day after representatives of President-elect Donald Trump requested a $10 million bond, according to the papers.

The court gave the petitioners until 5 p.m. local time on Monday to post the bond, but said it could modify the amount if shown good cause. Instead, Stein’s campaign withdrew.

“Petitioners are regular citizens of ordinary means. They cannot afford to post the $1,000,000 bond required by the court,” wrote attorney Lawrence Otter, informing the court of the decision to withdraw.

Stein, who garnered only about 1 percent of the presidential vote on Nov. 8, has also sought recounts in Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump won narrow victories over Democrat Hillary Clinton in all three states, part of the industrial heartland of the country until manufacturers started leaving for Mexico and other low-wage countries.

Trump and his allies have attempted to stop the initiatives in the states, calling the recount effort a “scam.” Clinton’s campaign has said it would take part in the recounts.

“The judge’s outrageous demand that voters pay such an exorbitant figure is a shameful, unacceptable barrier to democratic participation,” Stein said in a statement. “No voter in America should be forced to pay thousands of dollars to know if her or his vote was counted.”

Stein said she planned to announce “the next step” in the recount effort on Monday at a previously scheduled news conference at Trump Tower in New York City.

She said recounts already underway in some Pennsylvania counties would continue. The state’s election commission had approved recounts in 75 precincts where voters had requested one, but refused to allow a full forensic audit of voting machines, she said.

Even if all of the recounts were to take place, the overall outcome of the election would not likely change.

The presidential race is decided by the Electoral College, or a tally of wins from the state-by-state contests, rather than by the popular national vote.

Trump surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to win, with 306 electoral votes. Recounts would have to flip the result to Clinton in all three states to change the overall result.

In the popular vote, Clinton had a margin of more than 2.5 million votes over Trump, the independent Cook Political Report said.

(Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Bill Rigby and Tom Brown)

IMAGE: Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein speaks at a campaign rally in Chicago, September 8, 2016.   REUTERS/Jim Young