Jill Stein went to Trump Tower on Monday to press her case for long-shot recounts in three closely contested states in last month’s presidential election.
Ms. Stein, the Green Party presidential nominee and now the leader of the recount campaign, appeared emboldened by an early morning federal court ruling that ordered Michigan elections officials — over the protests of President-elect Donald J. Trump and his allies — to begin a recount by noon Monday.
In Pennsylvania, where Ms. Stein’s bid has also faced resistance, her lawyers sued in federal court on Monday, asking a judge to order a recount on constitutional grounds. That move, an apparently last-ditch attempt to review the state’s votes, came after the recount campaign suffered a setback on Saturday when it dropped its election complaint in state court, citing costs.
After finishing a distant fourth place in the presidential election, Ms. Stein has initiated the push for recounts in the two states, as well as in Wisconsin. She has cited concerns about hacking and the reliability of voting machines, prompting legal clashes with lawyers for Mr. Trump and his allies, who see the recounts as a costly and burdensome delay tactic.
“We are here to assure Donald Trump that there is nothing to be afraid of,” Ms. Stein said during a news conference and rally with his tower as a backdrop. “If you believe in democracy, if you believe in the credibility of your victory, put down your arms, end your bureaucratic obstruction, end your intimidation.”
The president-elect, who has raised his own doubts about the election, including his claim without evidence that “millions” of people voted illegally, has chided the recount effort. On Sunday, he went on Twitterto celebrate the setback in Pennsylvania, calling the bid a “Stein scam to raise money.”
Representatives of Mr. Trump did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.
Ms. Stein raised more than $7 million for the recount costs, as some supporters of Hillary Clinton have seen the effort as a last hope to change the outcome of the Nov. 8 election. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign has played a passive role in the process, acknowledging that the margins in the three states are too much to overcome.
Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump, said on “Fox News Sunday” that Ms. Stein should “give it up.” Ms. Conway said, “Even your friends in the Clinton campaign have admitted that these recounts will not change any results.”
But instead, Ms. Stein seemed to be redoubling the effort on Monday with just two weeks remaining before the Electoral College is set to meet and install Mr. Trump. Mrs. Clinton would need to be named the winner in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to reverse the outcome of the election.
In Michigan, county clerks were racing to begin a recount of that state’s 4.8 million votes after an overnight federal court order concluded that waiting a few days longer might prevent the state from finishing a recount in time to meet deadlines.
The Michigan Republican Party filed notice that it planned to appeal the order, saying that state courts should decide the matter.
Mr. Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes, and Ms. Stein has pointed to the number of people — about 75,000 — who voted in the election in Michigan but did not cast votes for president as a cause for questions.
Judge Mark Goldsmith of the United States District Court issued an order that clerks begin counting by noon Monday, sending local authorities rushing to arrange workers, meeting halls, security and other details of the recount several days earlier than had been expected.
Uncertainty about a later start date, Judge Goldsmith wrote, “shows that there is a credible threat to the voters’ right to have a determination made that Michigan’s vote for president was properly tabulated.”
Judge Goldsmith was nominated to the court by President Obama.
Officials in at least two counties were prepared to begin at noon, elections officials said, one at a county fairgrounds, the other in a school district facility.
But the fate of a recount in Michigan, which Republicans in the state have described as needless and expensive, remains tangled in additional litigation in other courts.
In Pennsylvania, Ms. Stein’s lawyers turned their focus to the federal courts, filing a motion seeking an order for a recount and a forensic examination of voting machines.
Last week, lawyers for the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and Mr. Trump countered an election challenge filed by Ms. Stein’s lawyers in state court, saying that Ms. Stein had not found fraud or illegality in the election. Ms. Stein’s lawyers dropped that claim on Saturday, citing a court order to pay a $1 million bond to proceed.
In federal court papers, lawyers for Ms. Stein wrote that a close accounting of votes was necessary in Pennsylvania because the state’s election system was “a national disgrace” that forced voters to use “vulnerable, hackable, antiquated technology banned in other states,” without a paper trail.