MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin judge has refused to order local officials to conduct the state's presidential recount by hand.
"I'm going to allow the 19 counties to do the recount the way that they intended," Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn said. "I think everyone would strongly encourage them to do the hand recount, but it is their decision."
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein requested the recount last week. She alleged -- without evidence -- that the state's voting equipment may have been hacked.
"Without counting the votes by hand, there will always be some question over the state of the election and the vote totals in Wisconsin," said Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, attorney for Jill Stein.
The state Elections Commission has ordered the recount to begin Thursday but rejected Stein's request that county clerks conduct the recount entirely by hand.
"It's still going to be a tight timeline obviously, but at least at this point there's not the uncertainty about whether there would be a hand count required," said Mike Haas with the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
Stein's attorneys argued during a hearing Tuesday evening that the best way to determine if a cyberattack occurred is to check ballots by hand against electronic tabulations from Election Day. State lawyers countered there's no evidence to suggest any attack took place.
Bailey-Rihn refused to issue the order, saying Stein's team failed to show any mistakes or irregularities that would bring a machine recount into question.
Wisconsin's Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a statement Tuesday night saying counties will now be able to proceed with their preferred method of recount.
"I am very pleased with the Judge's decision, particularly because she followed the law enacted by the legislature that sets the parameters for a hand recount," Schimel said in the statement.
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