Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s attorney in Bucks County, Pa., filed legal paperwork Monday hoping to trigger a statewide recount and invoking suspicions that Russian government officials wanted to meddle in the U.S. presidential election.
The petition raises concern about whether hacking could have compromised Pennsylvania’s electronic voting machines. The legal challenge, in part, relies on an affidavit from University of Michigan researcher and cybersecurity expert Alex Halderman, who argues foreign hackers, including Russia, have the capability of unleashing undetectable malware on voting machines to interfere with U.S. elections.
To date, there’s been no evidence presented by Pennsylvania officials or others to suggest hacking occurred to affect the outcome of the election. Pennsylvania was one of several large states earlier this year to accept the federal government’s offer for free cybersecurity and election security assistance.
Stein’s attorney, Larry Otter, said the move to force a statewide recount is “unprecedented” in Pennsylvania and he hopes the petition will move through the courts quickly. Already, individual voter recount requests – organized by Stein’s campaign – have been filed in more than 100 Pennsylvania precincts.
Should those local recounts happen and uncover any voting irregularities or evidence of voter fraud, Stein’s campaign’s statewide petition is a step toward a recount of all 5.8 million Pennsylvania votes in the presidential election.
President-elect Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by about 70,000 votes Nov. 8.
Stein’s campaign is also pursuing recount efforts in Wisconsin and could expand to other states. Trump has blasted the recount campaign and called Stein’s raising money for the associated legal fees a “scam.”
Stein’s attorney in Pennsylvania specializes in election law. Otter also represented past presidential hopeful Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.