When Green Party candidate Jill Stein announced her intention to demand recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, I was skeptical. In fact, it looked to me like she was simply using it as a way to raise money and, more importantly, her profile along with getting Democrats to sign up for her email list. I’m still not so sure that I am wrong about that. However, events over the past couple of days have me rethinking my opinion that the entire thing is a colossal waste of time.
First, we have the fact that both the Trump campaign and our State Attorney General, Bill Schuette, along with the Michigan Republican Party, are fighting the recount tooth and nail. A federal judge ruled over the weekend that the recount should
proceed begin immediately (avoiding a two-day delay) and saying that the recount “must continue until further order of this court.” This suggested that nothing being done at the state level, including any rulings by the state supreme court, could change that.
However, the Trump campaign, the Michigan Republican Party, and Schuette are vigorously pursuing shutting down the recount, an effort that is reminiscent of Supreme Court decision that handed the 2000 election to George W. Bush. The MRP has filed its own suit asking for a stay of the federal judge’s order and demanding an en banc review by all the judges of the 6th Circuit of the order. Schuette claims that Jill Stein, because she received only 3% of the vote, is not “aggrieved” and therefore has no standing to demand the recount. He is seeking to join the federal suit.
With that sort of intense desire to not count votes, there’s enough smoke to think there could be fire and maybe there IS something shady going on that needs to be looked into.
A truly outrageous bit of news was recently revealed, as well: There are 610 precincts in Wayne County alone, 392 of which are in Detroit, where the votes cannot be recounted because the number of physical ballots doesn’t match the number in the poll book. That’s over HALF of the precincts in the Motor City.
Under Michigan law, a precinct can’t be recounted if the poll book and ballot box numbers don’t match, unless there is a valid explanation. In such cases, the results from the original election night tally stand.
In Wayne County, about one-third of precincts showed discrepancies during the November canvass, said Krista Haroutunian, chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers. Those discrepancies could make those precincts — 610, including 392 in Detroit — ineligible for recount, though a final decision has yet to be made.
Then we have journalist Greg Palast, creator of the film The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and someone who has done exhaustive reporting on election fraud for Rolling Stone magazine and other publications, weighing in. Palast believes that 2.7 – 5 million votes were not counted for various reasons. These are under votes, over votes, and other votes thrown into what he calls the “Electoral Garbage”. If those votes ARE counted, it may well be that Sec. Clinton DID win Michigan.
— Greg Palast (@Greg_Palast) December 6, 2016
In case the matter does, at some point, come back to the state level in Michigan, Jill Stein has filed a suit to disqualify two Republicans on the state supreme court, Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. and Justice Joan Larsen, because they have been discussed by President Elect Donald Trump for positions on the U.S. Supreme Court which, of course, gives them ample reason to see him succeed.
If you’re interested in an overview of how the recount process works in Michigan, MLive has a good overview HERE.
If you are interested in getting involved with the recount, I am advising people NOT to sign on with the group “Recount 2016”. This is Jill Stein’s effort and I cannot abide supporting a candidate or political party that says that Democrats are as bad as Republicans and who claims that Sec. Clinton is, in fact, WORSE than Donald Trump. If you wish to volunteer to count votes, I recommend signing up with Sec. Clinton’s effort HERE instead.
One more thing: In their fever to shut down the recount, Republicans in the state legislature are rushing through a bill – House Bill 6097 – sponsored by Lisa Lyons (the same woman who introduced voter suppression legislation this week) that would require any candidate requesting a recount and who received less than 5% of the vote to pay 100% of the costs of the recount. According the House Fiscal Agency’s analysis of the bill, “if the percentage differential is less than 5%, the current law—that the petitioner must only pay $25 per district for which the petitioner is requesting a recount—will remain in effect.”
The final line of the bill says, “This amendatory act is retroactive and effective January 1, 2016” meaning that they are retroactively applying this to specifically punish Jill Stein.
They held a single hearing on the bill this morning and then promptly voted it out of committee and sent it to the full House. I’ll be shocked if it isn’t passed quickly by the Senate and sent to Gov. Snyder for his signature in record time.
Like I said, it’s getting very, very ugly.
UPDATE: This evening, a Michigan Court of Appeals panel ruled that the Board of State Canvassers needed to reconsider Jill Stein’s petition to force a recount and reject it. At nearly the exact same time, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the federal order
allowing the recount stipulating that the recount begin immediately, rejecting the appeal by Schuette and the Michigan Republican Party. The recount is still on but this will be battled over in federal court in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.
This story has been updated HERE.