by Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Just days before the federal deadline for states to certify their presidential election results, a last gasp legal push by the recount team for Green Party candidate Jill Stein is played out in a federal courtroom in Philadelphia.
Jill Stein’s lawyers asked a federal court judge for not only a hand recount of paper ballots statewide, but a forensic analysis of touchscreen voting machines, to analyze the software the devices use. They contend that since the direct recording electronic systems, or DRE’s do not keep a voter-verified paper record of each vote cast, and a forensic audit is the only way to ensure accuracy of the results.
They called an election security expert, Alex Halderman, to testify about his theories of what went wrong. When cross-examined by attorney Lawrence Tabas, representing President-Elect Trump and the Republican Party, Halderman said it was “more likely polls were wrong about the surprising result,” but he added they should “investigate the significant possibility of a cyber attack.”
The State Attorney General’s Office countered with its own expert, calling Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science professor Michael Shamos, who could not fathom any malware or Russian hack scenario offered by Stein’s camp. Shamos added, those possibilities “were as likely as androids from outer space living among us, passing themselves off as humans.”
Judge Paul Diamond promised that he would work toward coming up with a ruling “first thing Monday morning.”
Under federal election law, the deadline for states to certify votes is coming up on Tuesday.
So far, the courts have not been kind to Stein’s recount efforts. At the local level, Philadelphia, Montgomery and Allegheny County judges have ruled against her. At the statewide level, in Michigan, a judge ruled Stein did not qualify as an “aggrieved” candidate, adding she had no reasonable chance of winning in a recount. In both Pennsylvania and Michigan, Stein got about one percent of the vote.
And the Stein camp is not going quietly in places where the recount efforts were shut down.
Returning to Michigan, the Stein campaign filed an appeal with the State Supreme Court, even moving to disqualify two justices from hearing anything related to the recount. It says they were mentioned by Mr. Trump as potential nominees that he’s considering for the US Supreme Court.
After those justices removed themselves from the case, the Michigan Supreme Court denied her appeal.