Dueling court rulings left the fate of a presidential vote recount in Michigan uncertain on Tuesday night, and elections officials in the state said they were “seeking clarity about the next steps.”
A recount of last month’s election had already begun in parts of Michigan, one of three closely contested states where Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential nominee, had called for new counts, when the seemingly conflicting legal decisions emerged late Tuesday from state and federal courts in Michigan. Ms. Stein has cited concerns about computer hacking and the reliability of voting machines, setting off legal fights with lawyers for President-elect Donald J. Trump, his campaign and his allies, who view the recounts as a needless and expensive tactic.
A panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals found that Ms. Stein, who finished a distant fourth to Mr. Trump in the election, had not met the state’s requirements for a recount because she had no chance of winning. The panel concluded that the Michigan Board of State Canvassers ought not to have permitted a recount to go forward because Ms. Stein, given the size of the vote for her, could not be deemed “aggrieved,” as required for a recount under state election law.
Yet in a separate decision, also announced late Tuesday, a federal appeals court turned down requests from the state’s Republican Party and from Bill Schuette, the state’s attorney general, to block a federal court ruling that had cleared the way for the recount to proceed more swiftly than expected.