The Detroit Free Press reports:
After two days of ballot counting, conflicting court decisions and legal wranglings between frustrated lawyers, a federal judge on Wednesday night halted the hand recount of 4.8 million ballots cast for president in Michigan, concluding there’s no real evidence of foul play and there’s no valid reason to continue the recount.
In his eight-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said “there is no basis” for him to ignore a state court ruling that said the recount should never had started. He was referring to the Michigan Court of Appeals 3-0 ruling, which said that Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, who requested the recount, never had a shot at winning with her fourth-place finish and 1% of the vote, and therefore was not an aggrieved candidate.
Goldsmith’s ruling also bolstered some arguments that were repeatedly made by the Michigan Republican Party: that there was never any evidence that hacking or fraud occurred at the polls, and that Michigan’s voting system is so secure that not even the “Gremlins, Martians or Russian hackers” could tamper with it. That argument appeared to carry some weight with the judge.
“To date, plaintiffs have not presented evidence of tampering or mistake. Instead, they present speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery — but not actual injury,” Goldsmith wrote, adding the potential for fraud is not enough to continue to allow the recount to proceed.
The Republican Party also apparently convinced Goldsmith that the recount would have cost taxpayers too much money — $5 million by one count — if his comments are any indication. “It is at least arguable that the Michigan Legislature intended to confine costly and disruptive recounts to cases where a losing candidate stood a reasonable chance of changing the outcome of the election,” Goldsmith wrote.