Republican legal efforts are underway to stop the recounting of U.S. presidential ballots in three states where President-elect Donald Trump scored narrow victories last month.
Requests for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were initiated by the Green Party, which has said they are attempts to ensure the integrity of the U.S. voting system and not efforts to change the results of the November election. If the votes are recounted, experts say, they are very unlikely to change the outcome of the election.
In Michigan, Attorney General Bill Schuette said Friday that he had filed a suit asking the state Supreme Court to stop the recount. Schuette argues that the Green Party, whose presidential candidate was Jill Stein, could not justifiably seek a recount in Michigan because Stein was not "aggrieved" to an extent that the miscounting of votes could have caused her to lose the election. Stein captured only about 1 percent of the vote.
In a statement, Schuette said a recount "threatens to silence all Michigan votes for president." The earliest a recount could begin in Michigan is next week.
Supporters of the president-elect — the Great America PAC, the Stop Hillary PAC and voter Ronald Johnson — filed a federal lawsuit late Thursday in Wisconsin. The suit contends that the recount threatens the due process rights of Johnson and others who voted for Trump.
The Wisconsin Republican Party said it had also filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over the recount effort.
Pennsylvania hearing Monday
Attorneys for Trump filed legal complaints Thursday to stop similar proceedings in Pennsylvania. "There is no evidence — or even an allegation — that any tampering with Pennsylvania's voting systems actually occurred," the complaint says. A court hearing on the recount request will take place Monday.
Stein has suggested that Trump and his supporters will try to delay the recounts so they will not be able to meet state and federal deadlines for certifying the results.
Elections officials in all three states have expressed confidence in the election results, despite Trump's narrow victories. In Wisconsin, Trump won by 22,000 votes, or less than 1 percent, over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Trump defeated Clinton in Michigan by 10,700 of the 4.8 million votes cast. The president-elect edged Clinton in Pennsylvania by about 65,000 of the more than 5.8 million ballots cast.
U.S. presidential elections are not decided by a national popular vote. Instead, they are decided by individual races in the 50 states, with each state's importance in the overall outcome weighted by its population. Winning presidential candidates have to amass a majority of 270 votes in the 538-member Electoral College based on the state-by-state results.