Questions arise over ex-State Board of Education member Jason Strayhorn's business as he leaves school post, Michigan

Clinton gains 102 votes in Michigan’s partial recount

Jonathan Oosting Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton picked up a net gain of 102 votes on President-elect Donald Trump in Michigan’s partially completed recount, according to a state report released Friday.

But the 1,564 new votes discovered for her and Republican Trump will not count if the recall remains halted. In a 3-2 decision, the Michigan Supreme Court on Friday rejected Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s appeal and refused to restart the recount.

“Because the recount was halted before finishing, the results that were certified on Nov. 28 stand,” Michigan Secretary of State’s Ruth Johnson’s office said late Friday.

Trump beat Clinton by 10,704 votes in the certified results, 47.5 percent of the vote to 47.3 percent, out of 4.8 million ballots cast. Green finished a distant fourth with 1.1 percent.

After a recount of 2.1 million ballots, Clinton gained 833 votes, Trump picked up 731 votes, Libertarian Gary Johnson gained six votes and Stein picked up 64 votes. Stein initiated the recount even though she did not present evidence of widespread fraud or error. The state’s highest court and the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that she was not eligible to request the recount.

The Secretary of State’s Office reported that 39 percent of precincts statewide had completed recounting the votes before officials were ordered by a federal judge and the Board of State Canvassers late Wednesday to stop the recount.

The partial recount that began Monday in Ingham and Oakland counties and had expanded to more than 25 counties by Wednesday highlighted “serious problems” with Michigan elections that need to be addressed whether the recount is completed or not, Stein attorney Mark Brewer said Friday.

As The Detroit News first reported, as many as one-third of voting precincts in Wayne County may not have qualified for the recount because voting machine printout reports did not match poll books. According to state law, original election results stand in precincts where poll books don’t match with ballots.

In Ingham County, 23 of 208 precincts did not qualify for the recount.

Brewer estimated that as many as 1 in 5 precincts did not qualify for the recount in counties that had started the process. He said the Stein campaign was preparing a report that will document irregularities spotted by attorneys and volunteers, including “ballot bags with holes big enough to take ballots out of.”

Shifting vote totals from precincts that were counted are evidence that Michigan voting machines “are not as accurate as they could be,” Brewer said.

In Ingham County, which completed its recount Wednesday, Clinton picked up 128 additional votes and Trump 73, a net gain of 65 votes for the Democrat. Third-place finished Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, picked up two votes in the recount and Stein lost two votes.

Allegan County also wrapped up its recount Wednesday. Trump gained 35 votes there, Clinton 10 and Stein 2 for a net Trump gain of 25 votes.

“They miss votes,” Brewer said of the optical scanning machines used across the state.

Michigan Republican Party spokesman Stu Sandler downplayed the results of the partial recount, suggesting it’s “totally ridiculous” for Brewer to say there is a clear reason for the recount to continue.

“I think the court rightly proved that Stein wasn’t even an aggrieved candidate who shouldn’t have had a recount,” he said. “It just wasted a lot of taxpayer money, and the couple days it was going showed there was nothing to see.”

Sandler suggested Trump would likely pick up votes in some of the rural counties that had not yet been counted if the recount resumes.