The campaign of Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein, has filed a request for a recount of nearly 4.8 million ballots cast for president in Michigan.
Mark Brewer, the Michigan-based attorney representing Stein, filed the recount request at the Board of Elections office in Lansing with several other attorneys representing the campaign.
Stein had raised about $6.7 million since her announcement last week to contest the presidential election result and seek recounts of Donald Trump’s election victories in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Her effort for a Pennsylvania recount is on as her lawyer, Lawrence Otter, filed a lawsuit in Harrisburg’s Commonwealth Court at 3 p.m. on Monday, asking for a full recount of every Pennsylvania County.
She had also filed a petition on Friday last week with the Wisconsin State’s Election Commission, just 90 minutes before Wisconsin’s 5 p.m. Friday deadline to file a petition.
There have been concerns over the credibility of the election that saw Democratic Hillary Clinton, who won the popular votes by about 2 million, losing to Mr. Trump, who won the presidency based on Electoral College vote.
Mr. Brewer brought along a cheque for 973,250 dollars, which represents the 125 dollars per precinct Stein must pay for the recount.
“I and the undersigned members of my slate of electors are aggrieved on account of fraud or mistake in the canvass of the votes by the inspectors of election.
“And/or the returns made by the inspectors and/or by the Board of County Canvassers and/or by the Board of State Canvassers.
“I request that all of the precincts and absent voter counting board precincts within the state of Michigan be recounted by hand count,” Stein said in her request.
A recount could begin as soon as Friday in the state’s largest 19 counties, followed by the smaller counties, with a goal of finishing the state-wide recount by Dec. 10.
Lou Novak, a member of the Green Party and Detroit resident, commended the recount efforts during a news conference after the recount request was filed.
“This recount is about millions of ordinary Americans across the nation who are raising up to say enough is enough. Today is a turning point to fix our democracy.”
Alex Halderman, a cybersecurity expert and computer science professor at the University of Michigan, said researchers had shown that Michigan’s optical scan machines could be hacked.
Halderman, however, said there is no evidence that they have been hacked in previous elections.
He said: “America’s voting technology unfortunately suffers from severe cyber security vulnerabilities.
“We have one sure-fire defense against cyber attack and that’s voting machines in which voters can fill out a paper ballot. But the paper doesn’t do any good unless someone looks at it”.
John Pirich, a Lansing-based attorney with Honigman Miller and one of the attorneys hired by the Trump campaign, also was on hand for the filing.
Pirich said he still had to review the recount request before determining what, if any, action would be taken.
The State Board of Canvassers had scheduled a 9:30 a.m. meeting on Friday to deal with any challenges to the recount, if any are filed.
The board certified the Nov. 8 election results on Monday, showing that Republican Donald Trump won the state with a total of 2,279,543 votes, which was 10,704 more than Democrat Hillary Clinton received.
Ms. Stein finished fourth in the presidential race with 51,463 votes.
Mr. Brewer acknowledged that he did not expect a recount to change the outcome of the election adding, the purpose is to investigate if there is any evidence of mistakes or fraud happening during the counting of the ballots.
Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, had estimated could cost as much as two million dollars, less the 973,250 dollars coming from Stein, and the rest paid by the state’s 83 counties.
Johnson said it is unusual for a candidate who received only 1.07% of the presidential vote in Michigan to request a recount, “especially when there is no evidence of hacking or fraud, or even a credible allegation of any tampering.”
“Nevertheless, county clerks have been gearing up to complete this recount under a very challenging deadline.
“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,” she said.
Even though the outcome is unlikely to change, Johnson said the state and county clerks were gearing up for an unprecedented state-wide recount.
Stein had said she had no evidence of fraud going into a recount of ballots in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, but wanted to ensure the integrity of the election.
She has raised 6.7 million dollars in crowd-funding to pay for the recounts in the three states.
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, said the recount was a waste of taxpayer dollars.
She said: “The filing by Jill Stein is a reckless attempt to undermine the will of Michigan voters.
“Jill Stein made her one per cent temper tantrum official and will waste millions of Michigan taxpayers’ dollars and has acknowledged that the recount will not change anything regarding the Presidential election.” (USToday/NAN)