US President-elect Donald Trump’s lawyers and supporters are moving to block election recount efforts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The legal motions are designed to halt Green party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s request for a ballot review. Ms Stein, who says her campaign is focused on ensuring the integrity of the US voting system, questioned why Mr Trump was “afraid” of a recount.
Even if they do take place, they are unlikely to change the election result.
On Friday, Michigan’s Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a motion in the state Supreme Court to block a potential recount in the Midwestern state.
He said it could cost taxpayers “millions”, but Ms Stein called the move a “shameful” attempt to undermine democracy.
Mr Trump’s team filed a complaint a day earlier with Michigan’s elections board to block a hand recount of all 4.8 million ballots cast in the Midwestern state, which he won by 10,700 votes.
Lawyers for Mr Trump argued that Ms Stein cannot seek a recount in Michigan because she was not “aggrieved” enough that any miscount in votes could have altered her election outcome.
She took just 1% of Michigan’s vote.
In Wisconsin, supporters of Mr Trump, including the Great America PAC, the Stop Hillary PAC and voter Ronald Johnson, filed a federal lawsuit and requested a temporary restraining order to stop the Wisconsin recount hours after it began on Thursday.
Their lawsuit argues that the recount threatens the due process rights of those who voted for Mr Trump and will likely contain errors as officials rush to meet a 13 December deadline.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s lawyers have reportedly filed a complaint to stop the Green party candidate’s bid for a voter recount in Pennsylvania.
“Despite being no more than a blip on the electoral radar, Stein has now commandeered Pennsylvania’s electoral process, with an eye toward doing the same to the Electoral College,” the complaint filed on Thursday said, reports Politico.
“There is no evidence – or even an allegation – that any tampering with Pennsylvania’s voting systems actually occurred.”
A hearing is scheduled on Monday regarding Ms Stein’s effort to secure a court-ordered, statewide recount in Pennsylvania.
Ms Stein, who is funding her recount bid through public donations, said in a statement that the challenges to the three state recounts were putting “party politics above country”, the New York Times reported.
She added: “Verifying the vote is a common-sense procedure that would put all concerns around voter disenfranchisement to rest”.
“Trump’s desperate attempts to silence voter demands for recounts raise a simple question: why is Donald Trump afraid of these recounts?”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who lost to Mr Trump, has kept silent on the matter.
But a lawyer for Mrs Clinton said last week that though the campaign has not found any evidence of hacking or attempts to alter the voting process, it would co-operate with Ms Stein’s recount efforts.