Election board cancels meeting after judge ends recount

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers canceled plans Thursday to hold a formality vote on ending a statewide recount of the presidential election after a federal judge effectively shut down the recount Wednesday night.

The panel of two Republicans and two Democrats approved an order on Wednesday that instructed state election officials to stop the recount if U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith lifted a restraining order that triggered the recount on Monday.

“It was determined that their vote yesterday addressed the order from the Court of Appeals, so there’s no need to vote and the recount is stopped,” said Fred Woodhams, spokesman for Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

As a result, the state’s certified results from Nov. 28 stand, Woodham said Thursday. President-elect Donald Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes over Democrat Hillary Clinton, a 47.5 percent to 47.3 percent victory.

A three-judge Michigan Court of Appeals panel ordered the canvassers to reject Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s recount petition on grounds that it was unlawful. Stein finished a distant fourth with 51,463 votes or 1.1 percent.

But the recount continued all day Wednesday as the Board of State Canvassers awaited action by Goldsmith to eliminate a restraining order he imposed after midnight Monday requiring the recount to commence at noon that day.

Stein’s attorneys appealed the state Court of Appeals decision to the Michigan Supreme Court, which has not acted on Stein’s request. About 50 Stein supporters gathered outside the Hall of Justice Thursday afternoon, urging the seven justices to reverse the Court of Appeals and restart the recount.

Late Wednesday, the Secretary of State’s office sent notices to county clerks to halt the recount and tell workers to stay home on Thursday.

“Clerks and #election staff have been notified that no county recounts will proceed. Thanks to everyone who worked or volunteered!” the Secretary of State’s office wrote on its Twitter account late Wednesday night.

While the results of the recount may be published in the future, they will not be included in the official results, Woodhams said. Ingham County finished its recount Wednesday, with Clinton picking up 65 votes on Trump while Stein lost two votes.

“We may have numbers from the recount available at some point, but they would not affect the certified result,” Woodhams said. “We’re receiving updates from counties.”

Oakland and Wayne counties were among about 19 counties that had started doing recounts.


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Twitter: @ChadLivengood