2016-12-08 / News

Officials Deal See No Local Problems With Vote Recount; Schuette Files Lawsuit To Stop It

By Stephen King

Over the past few days, the recount of the recent presidential election has been much in the news. First, there was a move by Green Party candidate Jill Stein to ask for a recount. This was then met by a challenge by President-elect Donald Trump and his campaign that attempted to derail the recount. This is turn, was looked at by the Michigan Board of Canvassers, who eventually ruled against Mr. Trump and let the recount proceed.

Mackinac County Clerk Mary Kay Tamlyn expects that it will take about a day, maybe two, to recount Mackinac County’s approximately 6,000 votes that were cast for the presidential election. She also noted that the recount has to be done by December 12, an achievable deadline.

There are no set recount rules for the entire country. Each state sets their own. The rules to seek a recount vary from state to state. In some, any candidate who loses can ask for a re- count, however, in Michigan, there is a stipulation that a person must be “aggrieved” to seek a recount. That is, they have to have suffered because of a potential error in the tallying of the votes.

In their challenge, the Trump camp had three items of contention. First, they argued that because Dr. Stein had finished so far back in the race, that were was no realistic reason for her asking for the recount. Item One reads: “As the fourthplace finisher, Dr. Jill Stein is not aggrieved by any alleged fraud or mistake and is therefore not entitled to a recount.”

The next item was that there is not enough time to do the recount before the electors actually have to vote. The Trump objection reads: “A recount cannot be completed in time for Michigan to have its electoral votes counted.”

Thirdly, the Trump camp claimed Dr. Stein never actually signed the request. This part reads: “The petition must also be rejected because it was not properly signed and sworn to by the candidate.”

In their objection, the Trump campaign also noted that recounts in Michigan have never shown a significant amount of error. In those, there has been an error factor of only a handful of votes, far less than the more than 100,000 needed to overturn his victory over second-place finisher Hillary Clinton.

Despite these objections, the Michigan Board of Canvassers did rule that the recount would go through. Locally, impact is expected to be minimal. In Mackinac County, there are 14 precincts. It is the responsibility of the County Clerk to have the ballot boxes brought to a central point to be counted. The Sheriff’s Office, the clerk said, will help pick up the boxes and bring them in. The recount could be at Sault Ste. Marie, Newberry, or St. Ignace.

Each precinct counted would receive $125 toward the cost of the project. Besides transportation costs, Mrs. Tamlyn noted that she would need people to actually do the recount.

“The state does not say we have to pay them or how much we have to pay them,” she said. “I’ve talked to my counterpart in Chippewa County, and they think that if the recount is there, they can get some college students to do the actual counting. The only thing they do specify is that the people from the precincts cannot recount the ballots, as they were the ones who counted them in the first place.”

In larger counties, with substantially more votes to count, she said, this could be a problem and some of the more populated counties are already objecting to this, stating that the $125 is not enough because their costs will be much more than that and that the counties will be the ones who have to pay for any overruns.

Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a lawsuit to stop the recount. The Michigan Court of Appeals agreed to hear this suit on Tuesday, December 6.

Mr. Schuette said of the recount request, “Her insistence on getting a recount despite getting only 1% of the vote has created chaos for our county clerks and will cost the Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars. I am asking the Court of Appeals to rule on the side of Michigan taxpayers and end this frivolous recount.”

Counties are proceeding according to the Michigan Board of Canvassers ruling. Some precincts started counting ballots Monday, however, should the Michigan Court of Appeals rule on the side of Mr. Schuette, the recount will be called off.

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