Stein requests presidential recount in Michigan

Posted at 2:03 PM, Nov 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-30 17:22:09-05

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WXMI) — Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein on Wednesday requested a full hand recount of Michigan's presidential vote, making it the third state narrowly won by Republican Donald Trump where she wants another look at the results.

Stein previously asked for recounts of the votes in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

President-elect Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by about 10,700 votes out of nearly 4.8 million ballots cast in Michigan, or two-tenths of a percentage point. But Stein alleges that irregularities and the possibility that vote scanning devices could have been hacked call the results into question. Elections officials in all three states have expressed confidence in the results.

Michigan's recount could start as early as Friday, though a challenge to the recount by Trump may delay it.

“This recount is about the millions of ordinary Americans across our nation who are rising up to say enough is enough," said Lou Novak with the Green Party of Michigan.

"Today is a turning point to fix our democracy."

Trump's victory is highly unlikely to be reversed in any of the states. But Stein says the recount will ensure the integrity of the election.

Republicans say the recount will cost taxpayers far more than the $973,000 Stein must pay when filing her recount petition.

"We simply won't know if there was hacking or interference in this election unless we look at the votes — every vote systematically, impartially and by hand," Jessica Clarke, a lawyer for the Stein campaign, said during a news conference outside of the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

University of Michigan computer scientist Alex Halderman, who says voting machines and optical scanners that count ballots are prone to errors and outside manipulation, told reporters that the recount will show "for sure" whether cyber-attacks have occurred.

"More importantly, (the recount) will provide a defense in the future and a deterrent to any adversary who might want to try to hack future elections."

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, a Republican, called Stein's request "unusual," especially since there is no evidence of fraud or "even a credible allegation of any tampering.

"Nevertheless, county clerks have been gearing up to complete this recount under a very challenging (Dec. 13) deadline," she said. "They'll be working nights and weekends. I know they will do a great job because we have some of the best clerks in the country here in Michigan."

Meanwhile in Wisconsin, where Trump defeated Clinton by roughly 22,000 votes, Stein's campaign said it won't appeal a judge's ruling that Wisconsin's recount can be done without counting every ballot by hand. Most counties plan to do hand recounts anyway. That recount is due to start Thursday.

The Wisconsin Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission on Wednesday alleging that Stein's recount effort amounts to illegal coordination with Clinton designed to circumvent the law and public scrutiny.

Stein's campaign manager, David Cobb, said in a statement that Stein isn't coordinating with anyone and he dismissed the complaint as a "PR stunt to push a false narrative that will ultimately have no impact on the recount in Wisconsin."

Trump defeated Clinton in Pennsylvania by about 71,000 votes, or about 1 percentage point.

FOX 17s Josh Sidorowicz contributed to this report.