The Michigan Vote Recount Is Over, But Not Because The Votes Have All Been Checked
On Wednesday evening, a federal judge ended the vote recount in Michigan by dropping his original order that allowed for the votes to get a second look. According to Politico, an appeals court had argued that Jill Stein, who requested the recount, was ineligible to make the request as an "aggrieved candidate" because she had only received 1 percent of the vote. After several days of back-and-forth court proceedings, the recount is expected to cease before all of the state's votes have been re-checked.
The recount officially began on Monday, when Judge Mark Goldsmith of the federal district court in Detroit issued a temporary restraining order against blocking the recount. In other words, Goldsmith, at the time, found no reason to prevent a recount from occurring — and so it began as Stein had requested. A federal appeals court supported the lower court's ruling, but cautioned that the recount may need to be halted if a state court found it problematic under Michigan law.
Sure enough, a state appeals court ruled on Tuesday that Stein didn't have grounds to request the recount in the first place. That court pointed to a Michigan statute that makes the recount option available only to "aggrieved" candidates, or those who "would have had a reasonable chance of winning the election." Shortly after the state court's decision, Goldsmith dissolved his temporary restraining order on Wednesday, allowing state officials to stop the recount.
During a Facebook Live session on Wednesday night, Stein addressed the judge's decision to allow the recount to end, calling the recount experience "a very politicized process." She called the Michigan attorney general, who called for the recount to end, "a crony of Donald Trump." Stein spoke during the live-stream with Lou Novak, a member of the Green Party of Michigan who was involved in the recount process.
"We deserve to have confidence restored in the vote," Stein said. She called for the recount to continue and for changes to the voting system, such as automatic voter registration at age 18 and more inclusive debates during campaigns. She called the current system a "voting system that is not there for voters."
Beyond Michigan, Stein also requested recounts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as part of a widely popular crowd-funding campaign over the Thanksgiving holiday. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin recount continued, with interim results showing that Trump's lead may actually have widened in the Badger State. Meanwhile, a federal judge in Pennsylvania scheduled a hearing for Friday to weigh the recount request.
Despite the setbacks in Michigan and Wisconsin, Stein seemed determined to draw attention to the voting system that she sees as problematic — even in the recount stage. "A recount where we have to raise $9 or 10 million to have confidence in our votes is insane," she said via Facebook Live. Stein's recount campaign had raised more than $7.2 million toward its $9.5 million goal as of Wednesday night, but it wasn't clear how much longer the recounts she inspired would last.