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Coverage from across Michigan and the state Capitol with the Michigan Public Radio Network and Interlochen Public Radio.

Recount looms as Trump declared winner in Michigan


A state elections board officially declared Republican Donald Trump the winner of the presidential election in Michigan. That starts the clock on a request for a statewide recount that has been called for by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The campaign has until 2 o’clock Wednesday afternoon to file the request.

Mark Brewer is the Michigan attorney for the recount effort. He says the petition will be filed by the deadline and the Stein campaign is ready to pay the fee that could be as much as $800,000.

Brewer says there’s no proof, but there are reasons to wonder if the state’s electronic ballot counting system is flawed and susceptible to hacking. He says the answer is a hand recount of 4.8 million ballots. 

“In the end, this is all about people trusting the system,” he said, “and a manual recount is the only way to assure people that they can trust the system.” 

No presidential candidate broke 50 percent as the Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified Trump with 47.6 percent of all ballots cast, followed by Democrat Hillary Clinton with 47.4 percent – the closest margin in a presidential race in Michigan history. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson got 3.2 percent, and Stein got 1.1 percent.  

The Stein campaign says it’s not expecting to reverse the result of the election, but wants to test the ballot counting system.

Michigan Republican chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel says a recount would be a waste of time and money. She says the $800,000 would not entirely cover the cost of a recount to local clerks’ offices.

“This will cost our taxpayers. It will cost our counties.  It will take time,” she said. “It is disenfranchising our voters, and it is an outrage.” 

Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas says recounts could begin as soon as Monday, December 5th, and wrap up by December 10th.  Michigan’s Electoral College is to meet December 19th at the state Capitol to cast the state’s 16 electoral votes. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.