Jill Stein takes Pennsylvania recount effort to federal court.

Jill Stein Refuses to Pay $1 Million Bond for Pennsylvania Recount, Goes to Federal Court

Jill Stein Refuses to Pay $1 Million Bond for Pennsylvania Recount, Goes to Federal Court

The Slatest
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Dec. 4 2016 11:23 AM

Jill Stein Refuses to Pay $1 Million Bond for Pennsylvania Recount, Goes to Federal Court

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Jill Stein arrives for a press conference at the National Press Club on Aug. 23 in Washington, D.C.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Green Party’s Jill Stein is changing tactics in Pennsylvania, dropping a call for a recount in the state court in order to pursue the effort in federal court. Why? At least in part because it was just too expensive. Even though Stein has raised more than $7 million for her recount effort, the Green Party said that it will not post the $1 million bond required by the court.

“Petitioners are regular citizens of ordinary means,” notes the filing that withdrew the lawsuit filed with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. “They cannot afford to post the $1,000,000 bond required by the Court.” The court set the $1 million after lawyers representing President-elect Donald Trump called for a $10 million bond.

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The campaign said on Saturday night it would seek an emergency federal court order for a statewide recount. "Make no mistake—the Stein campaign will continue to fight for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania," recount campaign lawyer Jonathan Abady said in a statement. "We are committed to this fight to protect the civil and voting rights of all Americans."

Stein also took to Twitter on Saturday night to explain the decision: "On Monday, I will escalate #Recount2016 in PA and file to demand a statewide recount on constitutional grounds. The people deserve answers."

It’s unclear exactly why Stein’s campaign sees the bond as prohibitively expensive, but on the recount campaign’s donation page it estimated that the Pennsylvania recount would cost $500,000 excluding legal fees. On Twitter, Stein called demands for the $1 million bond “outrageous” because “PA voters are worried about the accuracy, security and fairness of an election tainted by suspicion.”

Whatever the reasons, the Republican Party saw the move as a big win. Lawrence J. Tabas, the general counsel of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, said the withdrawal served as “recognition” that the Stein-led effort was “completely without merit,” reports the New York Times. Efforts at recounts in a several key precincts are continuing.

In parallel efforts, Wisconsin’s recount began on Thursday and another one in Michigan could begin as early as this week although it has become mired in legal challenges.

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Connie Tews counts ballots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Friday.

Vnews International LLC/AFP/Getty Images

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.