Michigan Alone Can't Change The Election Outcome

When 2016 is said and done, the term "unprecedented" might just be the word to define this roller coaster of a year. Although the general election took place weeks ago, the strange path to recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania has dragged what felt like the world's longest election on even longer. And while recounts might be a long shot, the major discrepancy between Hillary Clinton's massive lead in the popular vote over President-elect Donald Trump is enough cause for some people to wonder: what will happen if Hillary Clinton wins the Michigan recount?

Michigan was too close to call until Nov. 28, when their Board of State Canvassers certified that Trump won over Clinton in Michigan by roughly 10,700 votes. That certification began the 48-hour time window for Green Party candidate Jill Stein to request a recount in the state — a move for which state officials are already planning. If Stein files a petition for a recount by Wednesday, Nov. 30, state officials said they plan on beginning the recount on Friday, Dec. 2, although that recount could stop at any point if Trump files written objections to the recount within seven days of its initiation. Barring that, however, the recount will continue unobstructed until its completion, at which time the Board of State Canvassers will certify the recount results.

If and when the recount is concluded and certified, and in the slim chance that the recount concludes that Clinton won over Trump in Michigan due to voter fraud, she will win all of Michigan's 16 electoral college votes, which will put her total at 248, and reduce Trump's total (with all of Michigan's votes currently certified in his favor) from 306 to 290. That still puts Trump 20 votes over the 270-vote threshold needed to win the presidency, meaning that his election will stick even if Clinton wins the Michigan recount. She'd need to also win the recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which have 10 and 20 votes respectively, to secure the presidency away from Trump. It's a major gamble, but one that Stein seems willing to make.

On Stein's recount crowdfunding page, the Green Party candidate made it clear that she is in no way seeking these three recounts to secure a win for the Democratic Party. Instead, the recounts are a way to question both the election's integrity and, ultimately, the Electoral College itself.