Statewide presidential recount halted before local officials start the process
Local election officials and ballots cast by Crawford County voters did not have to make the trip to Roscommon County as part of a statewide presidential recount on Monday after all.
Election officials from Crawford, Roscommon and Ogemaw counties were scheduled to be at the Roscommon County Courthouse on Monday, Dec. 12, to hand count ballots cast in the Nov. 8 general election for the president.
Justices from the Michigan State Supreme Court quashed the continuation of the statewide presidential recount with a majority opinion issued on Friday, Dec. 9.
In their order, Michigan Supreme Court Justices concurred with an early ruling issued by the Michigan Court of Appeals, stating that Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein failed to adequately allege she was an aggrieved party on the account of fraud or mistake in the canvass of the votes for the Nov. 8 general election.
The Michigan Supreme Court Justices said that Stein merely repeated language from state laws regarding the challenge of elections results.
“Thus, petitioner failed to allege that she was harmed or that her legal rights have been infringed in any way whatsoever,” the Justices wrote in their ruling. “Because she has not done so, petitioner failed to satisfy the statutory requirement of alleging that she was aggrieved.”
On November 28, the State Board of Canvassers certified the results of the presidential election in Michigan. The final vote tallies certified by the Board of Canvassers was entered as follows: 2,279,543 votes for Republican Party candidate Donald Trump; 2,268,839 votes for Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton; 172,136 votes for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson; and 51,463 votes for Green Party Candidate Stein. Stein’s vote total was approximately 1.07 percent of the nearly 4.8 million votes cast for the Office of United States President.
In Crawford County, at the Nov. 8 general election polls, Trump received 4,354 votes; Clinton 2,110 votes; Johnson 267 votes; and Stein trailed with 66 votes.
President-Elect Trump filed objections to the recount petition, arguing Stein had no chance of winning Michigan’s electoral votes as the result of a recount.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette argued to halt the recount so that state taxpayers would not have to bear the costs of going through the process.
“In a huge victory for Michigan taxpayers and the rule of law, this recount is stopped,” Schuette said. “Our State of Michigan judicial system and the State Board of Canvassers protected Michigan taxpayers from a frivolous recount that would have cost millions of more tax dollars a day.”
The ballots cast by Crawford County voters were sealed in their containers by local election officials after the Nov. 8 election, and were stored in the Crawford County Clerk’s Office in preparation for the recount.
Challengers and observers, representing each party, were scheduled to be on hand in Roscommon County on Monday, when the votes would have been hand counted instead of simply resetting the voting machines and running the ballots through again.
“That’s not what they want,” said Crawford County Clerk/Register of Deeds Sandra Moore as she and her staff were preparing for the recount. “They want to see it to believe it.”
The only two statewide recounts in Michigan election history took place in the 1950s. Gov. G. Mennen (Soapy) Williams retained his office in 1950 and 1952 after recounts. The 1950 recount turned what had been a narrow loss to a win for Williams.
Crawford County election have officials have gone down the recount election road five times in the last 20 years.
In one of the more notable cases, when a recount was held, Lawrence “Larry”?Akers and Thomas Wellman were tied with both receiving 114 votes for a four-year term on the Grayling City Council on?Nov. 4, 2003. Following the recount of the ballots, Akers ended up winning the seat after he drew a piece of paper from a hat, saying he was elected.
Two recounts have been done for the Beaver Creek Township Supervisor’s position. The first recount was held after the Aug. 3, 2004 primary election, when Kathleen L. Mobarak received 147 votes, one vote shy of incumbent township supervisor Lee Riley with 148 votes. Riley retained his seat on the township board.
In the Nov. 7, 2012 general election, Beaver Creek Township Supervisor Brian Ashton received 236 votes over challenger Max Meisner, who trailed with 230 votes. Ashton retained his position after the recount.