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U.S., state courts issue conflicting rulings on Michigan vote recount

By Dan Whitcomb

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) - A Michigan state appeals court on Tuesday ordered a halt to the recount of that state's presidential election vote sought by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, while a federal appeals court ordered the process to proceed.

The conflicting rulings had both sides claiming victory but left unclear on Tuesday evening where Stein's bid to recount the vote in Michigan stood.

The Green Party candidate, who received only about 1 percent of the presidential vote on Nov. 8, sued in federal court in Pennsylvania on Monday to try to force a statewide recount of U.S. presidential votes there.

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Stein also pushed for a recount that is under way in Wisconsin, which with Michigan and Pennsylvania, was key to Republican President-elect Donald Trump's victory.

"Today, Trump and his GOP allies in Michigan tried everything in the book to stop the recount, and they failed. This recount is continuing in spite of their efforts to suppress the vote," said Matthew Brinckerhoff, a lawyer for the Stein campaign.

Brinckerhoff was referring to a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the recount should continue in Michigan.

The 6th Circuit's decision came within hours of an order by the state Michigan Court of Appeals that the recount be halted, on the grounds that Stein was "not an aggrieved candidate" with standing to demand one.

"I’m grateful, and I know Michigan taxpayers agree, that the Michigan Court of Appeals has adhered to the rule of law, and clarity in our Michigan statute in agreeing that Jill Stein is not an aggrieved candidate and the recall must stop," the state's Republican attorney general, Bill Schuette, said in a written statement.

Stein's moves are unlikely to change the outcome of the election but she has maintained they are necessary to ensure the integrity of voting systems.

Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin defied their recent history of supporting Democratic presidential candidates and handed Trump narrow wins that ultimately gave him victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Clinton's campaign has said it would take part in the recounts.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)