NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein sued in federal court in Pennsylvania on Monday to try to force a statewide recount of U.S. presidential votes there, and recounts were expected to begin in Michigan and continue in Wisconsin.
The three "Rust Belt" states were key to President-elect Donald Trump's Nov 8 victory, and although recounts are extremely unlikely to change the outcome of the presidential election, Stein has said they are necessary to ensure the integrity of state election systems.
Some voting machines in Pennsylvania lack a paper trail, making them antiquated and vulnerable to hacking, Stein said in a statement.
An earlier request by Stein for a recount in Pennsylvania failed on Saturday after a state judge ordered her campaign to post a US$1 million (S$1.42 million) bond.
In Michigan, a federal judge ordered a recount of presidential ballots to begin at 12 pm ET (1am Singapore time) on Monday and directed that the state complete the process by a Dec 13 federal deadline.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith issued the written order early on Monday after a Sunday night hearing in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan's Southern Division.
Goldsmith ordered that, once started, the recount "must continue until further order of this court." The recount was ordered two days ahead of the two-day waiting period the state had planned to observe from Wednesday.
In his ruling, Goldsmith wrote that "budgetary concerns are not sufficiently significant to risk the disenfranchisement of Michigan's nearly 5 million voters." The Michigan Secretary of State's Office said on Twitter it had received Goldsmith's order and was reviewing it and coordinating with the state's 83 counties.
Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin bucked their history of supporting Democrats and handed Trump, a Republican, narrow wins that ultimately gave him victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican, filed a lawsuit on Friday to halt the requested recount in the state, which Trump won with a margin of roughly 10,700 votes.
Wisconsin's recount began last week.
The presidential race is decided by the Electoral College, or a tally of wins from the state-by-state contests, rather than by the popular national vote. Federal law requires states to resolve disputes over the appointment of electors by Dec. 13.
Trump surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to win, with 306 electoral votes, and the recount would have to flip the result to Clinton in all three states to change the overall result. In the popular vote, Clinton had a margin of more than 2.5 million votes over Trump, the Cook Political Report said.
Stein, who garnered only about 1 per cent of the vote, has said the recount campaign is not targeted at Trump or Clinton.