By CAITLIN DeLUCA
Capital News Service
LANSING – Local election officials are preparing for something no one has ever done in Michigan – recount the ballots of a presidential election.
The Board of Canvassers Friday deadlocked 2-2 over President-elect Donald Trump’s objection to a recount. That means the recount will go ahead, election officials said.
“If the board adopts the objection from a three-one vote, then the recount would be over with,” said Fred Woodhams, a press aide for the Secretary of State’s Office which administers elections. “If the board does not adopt the objection, either from a three-one vote or on a two-two deadlock, the recount would start.”
And now election clerks have to scramble to get counting. The clerks will receive $125 reimbursement from the state for each precinct recounted, which is how they will help pay for the extra staff needed to handle the recount, said Mary Hollinrake, the Kent County clerk.
The money given to the clerks may not be enough, Hollinrake said.
“I have to outlay money for certain things, I have to bring in all the tables we’re going to use, I have to bring in some other equipment, we have to feed everybody because people aren’t leaving, they don’t get lunchtime or dinnertime,” said Hollinrake.
Emmet County Clerk Juli Wallin agreed.
“We have to have teams of two to count these things, and I’m going to need as many teams as I can so that I don’t use the whole day or into the next day, so I’ll pay each of them $100.”
The clerks were unsure how much a recount would cost the taxpayers.
“I believe it’s going to cost more money than the $125 a precinct that the state will give,” said. Cheryl Neilsen, the Montmorency County clerk.
“I have no idea what this exact cost will be,” Hollinrake said.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein had filed for a recount.
Hollinrake said that for as much effort that will go into the recount, the end result will be the same.
“This is a huge undertaking with very little result that will be of interest,” Hollinrake said.
“It will show that there isn’t the fraud that was spoken of by one of the candidates, that one can’t hack into our systems,” she said.
The way the recount will work is “simple, but time-consuming,” Hollinrake said.
“It’s a hand recount, not a machine recount. We have to determine the recountability in our precincts and if they are all recountable we will have to recount them by hand,” Hollinrake said.
Wallin said clerks are working on a deadline.
“We have to get this done by Dec. 13,” she said. And they can’t get started immediately.
“We have to wait two full business days from the end of the state Board of Canvassers meeting until we can start recounting,” Wallin said.
The election results need to be sent to the Electoral College before Dec. 19, but election disagreements need to be decided by the courts by Dec.13.
By CAITLIN DeLUCA