How election recounts are triggered in Michigan

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

A presidential candidate can automatically get a recount in Michigan depending on the margin of victory, but could still request a retallying of the votes if he or she believe “fraud or mistake” occurred.

Statewide elections decided by 2,000 or less votes trigger an automatic recount, said John Pirich, a Lansing-based elections attorney.

But candidates who lose by larger margins in unofficial results can still request recounts, Pirich said.

“A candidate for a federal, state, county, city, township, village or school office who believes that the canvass of the votes cast on the office may be incorrect because of possible ‘fraud or mistake’ in the precinct returns may petition for a recount of the votes cast in the precincts involved,” according to the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

A losing candidate can seek a recount in a whole district or in certain precincts, said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office.

The cost is $25 per precinct if the election is close, or $125 per precinct if it’s not, Woodhams said.

“The money is refunded if the recount changes the result of the election,” he said early Wednesday morning.

Candidates have to identify the precincts where they desire the recounts.

“If the challenger only selects certain precincts, the winner can add precincts,” Woodhams said.