Former U.S. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is turning to a federal court in her effort to recount the state of Pennsylvania’s ballots from the recent presidential election that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was widely expected to win, but lost to billionaire businessman Donald Trump.
Stein dropped her attempt to have Pennsylvania recount the votes after a state judge ordered her to post a $1 million bond.
Jonathan Abady, lead counsel to Stein’s recount efforts, said in a statement, “the state court system is so ill-equipped to address this problem,” that “we must seek federal court intervention.”
One of Stein’s lawyers informed a Pennsylvania court in a filing about her decision to withdraw her recount attempt that “Petitioners are regular citizens of ordinary means. They cannot afford to post the $1,000,000 bond required by the court.”
Stein is expected to ask a federal court Monday to aid her in recounting the Pennsylvania ballots.
She has also mounted campaigns to recount the votes in Michigan and Wisconsin.
President-elect Trump has called Stein’s recount push a “scam” and has engaged lawyers in all three states to thwart her efforts.
Stein stands to gain little from a recount, since she won only one percent of the popular vote.
She has raised about $7 million for the recount effort and other associated costs.
A statement on Stein’s website said the recount effort was not meant to help Clinton. Rather, the website said the move “is about protecting our democracy.”
Election experts say there is almost no chance the election results would be overturned. But with Clinton’s national lead in the popular vote now more than two million, any changes to the vote count in her favor could heighten the debate over the legitimacy of Trump’s stunning upset win.
U.S. presidential elections are not decided by a national popular vote. Instead, they are decided by individual races in the 50 states and the national capital city, Washington, 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, with the vote winner in each state winning all of that state’s electoral votes, in most all cases.
By winning numerous states by relatively narrow margins, Trump won in the Electoral College, 306-232. Clinton would need to prevail in all three of the recount states to reverse the outcome.