Trump Inaugural Delay Possible With Recount Suit, GOP SaysBy
Party says president-elect should be able to fight challenge
Republicans say case could delay certification of electors
Donald Trump’s inauguration could be delayed by Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s recount effort in Pennsylvania, Republican officials said in a request to allow the president-elect and his running mate Mike Pence to intervene in the case.
Pennsylvania’s electors should also be permitted to join to ensure they can fulfill their duties for the Electoral College, casting their votes for president and vice president on Dec. 19, the state’s Republican Party told a federal judge in Philadelphia. Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president is set for Jan. 20.
“The interests of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and Donald J. Trump for President Inc. will be impacted if they are unable to participate in this litigation," attorney Lawrence Tabas said in a court filing late Monday.
Stein, who finished fourth in the election with about 1 percent of the vote, sued on Monday, calling for a recount of paper ballots where optical scan machines were used, and a forensic probe of software in counties that used electronic voting machines. Her effort, based on claims of potential hacking and foreign interference, has already led to recounts that are underway in Wisconsin and Michigan. A state appeals court in Michigan was scheduled Tuesday to consider Attorney General Bill Schuette’s effort to block the recount.
The recount efforts come as Democrat Hillary Clinton leads the popular vote by more than 2 million ballots. There is no indication that the reviews -- if they are completed -- would affect Trump’s comfortable margin of victory in the Electoral College. In Pennsylvania, the GOP argues the recount suit could cause the state to miss a Dec. 13 deadline for certification by Governor Tom Wolf -- a requirement before the electors, who actually elect the president and vice president under the Constitution, can cast their votes.
Trump won 306 electoral votes on Nov. 8 to Clinton’s 232. The non-partisan Cook Political Report shows Trump won Pennsylvania by about 46,765 votes, Wisconsin by about 22,177, and Michigan by about 10,704, according to vote totals updated Dec. 3. The states represent 46 electoral votes in total.
In her recount request, Stein cited the vulnerability of electronic-voting machines to manipulation and reports that senior Russian officials approved hacking of the Democratic National Committee and a top Clinton aide. Trump repeatedly called the election “rigged” before his victory and has blamed Clinton’s popular vote success on millions of illegal votes, without providing any evidence of voter fraud.
“Experts have testified that the forensic analysis of touchscreen voting machines we have requested would take only two to three days and would be completed well in advance of the Dec. 13 deadline," Sam Scarrow, a spokesman for Stein’s recount effort, said in a statement.
Trump previously criticized Stein’s recount bid, calling her a failed candidate who is getting in the way of democracy. He also argues that Stein hasn’t provided any evidence of hacking.
The case is Stein v. Cortes, 16-cv-06287, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).