U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith early Monday morning, granted Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein emergency request and ordered a recount of Michigan’s presidential ballots to begin at noon on Monday. Judge Goldsmith, appointed by President Obama, also ordered the state to “assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours” to complete the recount by a Dec. 13 federal deadline:
Defendants and any persons acting in concert with them are ordered to cease any delay in the commencement of the recount of the presidential vote cast in Michigan as of noon on December 5, 2016. At that time, the recount shall commence and must continue until further order of this Court. Defendants shall instruct all governmental units participating in the recount to assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours to assure that the recount is completed in time to comply with the “safe harbor” provision of 3 U.S.C. § 5.
Stein’s lawyers argued that a waiting period set out in Michigan law that would have delayed the recount until Wednesday was unconstitutional as it applied in this case, because it endangers the voting rights of Michigan residents whose votes might not be counted.
Judge Goldsmith found that Stein had shown a likelihood of success on the merits of her claim that the two business day waiting period, as applied in this case, would likely violate their right to vote under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The judge also found Stein showed a likelihood irreparable harm:
Where a plaintiff’s constitutional rights are at issue, the movant need only show that his rights are “threatened,” from which showing “a finding of irreparable injury is mandated.”
This is beginning to feel more and more like the 2000 presidential election which the Supreme Court finally decided with its infamous Bush v. Gore decision. There are now recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin three states in which 46 Electoral Votes — enough to change the result of the presidential election– are now at issue.
It is ridiculous that our legal system allows a person who got only about 1 percent of the vote in each of these three states to be called into question.
Until Sunday’s unusual hearing, no reasonable person thought the recount could change the outcome. During the hearing an attorney for Stein argued that the 75,000 ballots with no vote for president is “sufficient to change the result” of the election. Before that, not Stein had said she wasn’t expecting to change results, but wanted to test the integrity of the system against possible mistakes or fraud. The assertion that the outcome could change in Michigan caused a lawyer representing President-elect Donald Trump and the Michigan Republican Party, to question whether Stein’s lawyer, a former chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, was acting for Stein or for Hillary Clinton.
On Friday, Trump and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette each sued separately in state court to block the recount.
According to the Detroit News, Schuette also filed court papers to intervene in the Stein federal case late Sunday. There was no immediate word on an appeal to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.