Stein plans Saturday rally in Detroit to demand recount

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is set to protest the halt to Michigan’s recount with a Saturday rally in Detroit, her campaign said Friday.

Stein has scheduled a 2 p.m. Saturday rally at the Cobo Center in Detroit to protest the decision by Detroit U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith to stop the recount based in part on a unanimous Michigan Court of Appeals finding that she is not an “aggrieved” candidate under state elections law.

The three-day recount uncovered problems across the state, “that’s one of the important reasons we urge the Michigan Supreme Court to let it continue,” Stein attorney Mark Brewer said Friday at a Lansing news conference, noting a number of precincts were disqualified from the recount because of ballot problems. “I think halting the recount at this point raises more suspicions, because we’re halfway through a process which has showed defects.”

The state’s highest court has not yet agreed to hear the case, which asks justices to reconsider a Tuesday decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals. A three-judge state panel ruled Stein did not have grounds to request the recount because she had no chance of winning an election in which she received 1.1 percent of the certified vote.

Stein finished a distant fourth in Michigan, where Republican President-elect Donald Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes, 47.5 percent to 47.3 percent. About 75,000 Michiganians who cast ballots did not vote for president, according to the certified results, an unusually large figure Stein cited in calling for the recount.

The state court decision prompted President Barack Obama appointee Goldsmith to lift his order — with a nudge from a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati — that had forced the recount to start Monday. To seek a recount, Goldsmith said Stein had a responsibility to show evidence of significant fraud or mistake, not just “speculative fear of them,” which she did not do.

Trump launched the state court battle to halt the recount, suing the Board of State Canvassers, state Elections Director Chris Thomas and Stein, who requested recounts in Michigan Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as part of what she called an “election integrity movement.”

“This is an attack on our democracy by Trump and Michigan Republicans,” said Lou Novak, a Michigan Green Party member and recount volunteer. “The discrepancies we’ve discovered while counting votes so far are precisely the reason we need a recount in the first place. We will not back down from this fight now. The Michigan Supreme Court must do its job.”

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 said the GOP tallied totals from 10 counties that had completed their recounts and found that Clinton picked up a net 66 votes on Trump, but he suggested the Republican would likely pick up votes in some of the rural counties that had not yet been counted.

“When you’re talking about 5 million votes and 66 votes either way, it’s not a lot,” Sandler said. “I bet if they went through the entire process, it could have been single votes.”