Official: Trump could object to Michigan recount request

LANSING - A requested recount in Michigan is not automatically granted, even if the required fees are paid, and President-elect Donald Trump would have the right to object to a recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, with the Board of State Canvassers deciding the issue, an election official said Monday.

Dates for objections and hearings could push the start of any recount well into December.

Assuming Michigan's election results are certified by the board at a meeting in Lansing at 2 p.m. today, Stein would have until Wednesday to request a recount.

Related: Michigan to certify presidential election today, recount may follow

Trump then would have seven days to file written objections to the recount, Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams told the Free Press.

The Board of State Canvassers would then hold a hearing on the objections and would have to issue a ruling within five days of the hearing.

"If the objections are overturned by the board, the recount can commence after the second business day following the issuance of the board’s decision," Woodhams said.

Scott Hagerstrom, director of the Trump campaign in Michigan, said "all options will be open and pursued," "but it’s hard to speculate until a recount is requested."

“We just have to wait and see,” Hagerstrom said.

Attorney Mark Brewer, a former chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, confirmed Monday he has been retained by the Stein campaign. He is expected to address the Board of State Canvassers at Monday's meeting.

The Board of State Canvassers has four members. By law, two are Republicans and two are Democrats.

Though it's possible a recount request, objections, and the issuance of a decision could happen more quickly than the maximum times allowed by law, the time frames set out in Michigan statute could push the start of any recount back to around Dec. 15, only four days before the Electoral College is set to meet on Dec. 19. Those times also do not include any potential court challenges.

The campaign for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said Saturday night it will participate in a recount of votes after Stein officially requested a recount on Friday in Wisconsin and has promised to do the same in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Both the Michigan Republican Party and the campaign for Trump, who holds a 10,704-vote lead over Clinton in the state, also are looking for volunteers to be observers of the hand recount that would take place in the 83 counties where the votes were cast.

Related: Michigan preparing for potential hand recount of 4.8M presidential votes

The Michigan Secretary of State's office said Saturday it is researching how federal law affects the timeline to complete a recount, but it anticipates that a recount would have to be done before Dec. 19, when the electoral college, including the 16 people who make up Michigan's, meets to cast its votes for president.

To cover the cost, Stein, as the person requesting the recount, will have to pay $125 per precinct – 6,300 in Michigan – for a cost of $787,500. She’s raised more than $6 million toward a $7 million goal to pay for the three recounts, as well as legal costs anticipated to accompany the process.

A recount would continue what has become a stunning election cycle in which Clinton was the favorite in nearly all the polls leading up to Nov. 8, only to be beaten by the controversial New York businessman, who tapped into a vein of discontent voters looking for a change in Washington, D.C.

A recount also could focus on the under-count tallies, in which more than 84,000 voters didn’t vote for anyone for president, which is about twice the number of people who didn’t vote for the top spot on the ballot in 2012.

Related: Michigan elections director casts doubt on vote-hacking concerns

But a couple of factors could be attributed to that under-count, said election law attorney John Pirich. First, both Trump and Clinton had high unfavorable numbers in polls before the election. Trump’s were at 56% while Clinton’s were at 54%, according to a compilation of polls kept by the website Real Clear Politics.

So, it’s reasonable to assume that the number of people who didn’t vote for either Trump or Clinton would go up in 2016, Pirich said.

In addition, write-in votes were counted only for the seven people who registered with the state as write-in candidates by mid-September. So any write-in votes for candidates like U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democrat who beat Clinton in Michigan’s presidential primary, or vice presidential pick Mike Pence or many other names that could have been written in weren’t included in the final presidential election results.

2016 © Detroit Free Press


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