US judge rejects Jill Stein bid for Pennsylvania recount

Dec 12 (Reuters) - The recount effort by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in three crucial U.S. states neared an end on Monday, after weeks of legal wrangling yielded only one electoral review in Wisconsin.

A U.S. judge in Pennsylvania rejected Stein's request for a recount and an examination of that state's voting machines for evidence of hacking in the Nov. 8 election won by Republican Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin election officials said on Monday they had completed their recount. The full numbers were expected to be available within hours, though it appeared they would largely affirm the election's results.

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Recounting votes from the 2016 election
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Recounting votes from the 2016 election
Oakland County clerks count election ballots during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Oakland County clerks count election ballots during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Oakland County clerks count election ballots during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Oakland County clerks count election ballots during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Oakland County clerks count election ballots as an observer from the Republican Party (R) watches during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Oakland County clerks count election ballots as a volunteer observer watches during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Oakland County clerks count election ballots as a volunteer observer (L) watches during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Oakland County clerks count election ballots during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Oakland County clerks count election ballots during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Oakland County clerks count election ballots as a challenger watches over their shoulders during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Oakland County clerks count election ballots as challengers from the Green Party (2nd L) and the Republican Party (R) watch during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
A sign points the way to the room where Oakland County clerks count election ballots during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan, U.S., December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Oakland County clerks count election ballots as challengers watch over their shoulders during a recount of presidential ballots in Waterford Township, Michigan December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Ballots from the 2016 U.S. presidential election are recounted, following a request by the Green Party, in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Ben Brewer
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Stein, who finished fourth in the election, challenged the results in those two states as well as Michigan, where the state's top court on Friday denied Stein's last-ditch appeal to keep a recount going. All of those traditionally Democratic strongholds supported Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Even if all three recounts had taken place, they were always unlikely to change the outcome.

Stein argued that the use in many Pennsylvania districts of electronic voting machines with no paper trail left the system vulnerable to hacking.

In a 31-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond in Philadelphia said it "borders on the irrational" to suspect hacking occurred in Pennsylvania. He also emphasized that the deadline to certify the state's electoral votes is Tuesday, making it impossible to hold a recount in time.

While there is no evidence of large-scale voting machine hacking, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia targeted Clinton in a series of cyberattacks on Democratic Party groups. Trump has questioned those reports.

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Trump tweets about recount
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Trump tweets about recount
Hillary's debate answer on delay: "That is horrifying. That is not the way our democracy works. Been around for 240 years. We've had free --
during a general election. I, for one, am appalled that somebody that is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind --
of position." Then, separately she stated, "He said something truly horrifying ... he refused to say that he would respect the results of --
this election. That is a direct threat to our democracy." She then said, "We have to accept the results and look to the future, Donald --
Trump is going to be our President. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead." So much time and money will be spent - same result! Sad
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In response to Diamond's ruling, Stein said in a statement that Pennsylvanians' right to have their votes counted had been "stripped from right under them."

As of Monday morning, the Wisconsin recount was 95 percent complete and had narrowed Trump's lead over Clinton by only 25 votes.

Trump won Wisconsin by more than 22,000 votes, Pennsylvania by more than 44,000 votes and Michigan by more than 10,000 votes, according to the latest figures.

Despite winning the national popular vote by more than 2 percent, Clinton would have had to sweep those states to win the presidency under the U.S. Electoral College system, which assigns electoral votes state-by-state rather than by overall national totals. (Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Timothy McLaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Bill Trott and Andrew Hay)


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