We followed the twists, turns, and drama surrounding Michigan's presidential recount. Green Party candidate Jill Stein requested the recount in Michigan (and in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) after stories circulated about the need for a robust auditing system of elections in the U.S. (Read more about that here.)
We kept this post updated as the parties battled it out in federal and state courts. The Michigan State Supreme Court put the final nail in the coffin for the Michigan recount. Scroll down and read up to see how the events unfolded.
UPDATE: Thursday, December 8, 2016
That's a wrap. The Michigan Supreme Court, in a 3 to 2 decision, denied the appeal filed by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. With the ruling, the Michigan presidential recount is effectively over.
Republican Justices Robert Young and Joan Larsen removed themselves from the case because both are on President-elect Donald Trump's list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees. The remaining three Republican justices on the court voted to reject appeal, while the two Democrats dissented.
Michigan's presidential ballot recount is over unless the state Supreme Court steps in. This morning's meeting of the Board of State Canvasses has been canceled after elections officials determined it had already complied with a court ruling to stop the recount.
A state elections panel is expected to meet this morning after federal judge Mark Goldsmith lifted his order that the state continue with the recount until it’s completed. Goldsmith said he was following the lead set by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which ruled Green Party nominee Jill Stein had no right to seek a recount because she got just one percent of the vote and has no hope of winning.
Stein said she never expected to change the result of the election, but believes voting machines are susceptible to hacking or tampering. The Stein campaign is expected to take the issue to the Michigan Supreme Court - a court made up of a majority of Republicans, two of which are on president-elect Donald Trump's list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Update 8:00 p.m.:
The Michigan recount is off.
The federal judge who ordered Michigan to start recounting presidential votes has issued another ruling that effectively halts the statewide recount.
Judge Mark Goldsmith released his ruling moments ago. (Read it here.) It came a day after the state appeals court said the Green Party candidate isn't eligible to seek a recount of millions of vote cast Nov. 8 because Stein is not an "aggrieved candidate."
In his ruling that mentioned precedents set in the famous 2000 Bush v. Gore U.S. Supreme Court decision, Judge Goldsmith ruled the state appeals court got it right.
From the ruling:
Because there is no basis for this Court to ignore the Michigan court’s ruling and make an independent judgment regarding what the Michigan Legislature intended by the term “aggrieved,” Plaintiffs have not shown an entitlement to a recount under Michigan’s statutory scheme.
It was Goldsmith's midnight ruling Monday that started the recount in Michigan. But his order dealt with timing — not whether a recount was appropriate.
The state appeals court said Tuesday that Jill Stein doesn't qualify as an "aggrieved" candidate under state law because she got only 1% of the Michigan vote and can't win with a recount.
More than 20 counties so far are recounting ballots, and some are finished.
Stein is appealing to the Michigan Supreme Court.
The recount continues in all Michigan counties as attorneys are back in federal judge's Mark Goldsmith's courtroom. We await his written ruling today.
The recount is supposed to be completed by a December 13 deadline.
The Board of State Canvassers is also meeting today. They are waiting for Judge Goldsmith's decision.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016:
The recount continues and lawyers battle it out in the courts.
The Michigan Court of Appeals rules the recount should be stopped, saying the Michigan Board of State Canvassers never should have allowed the recount to go forward. But another ruling - from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals - upheld federal judge Mark Goldsmith's order.
The recount continues despite the state court of appeals ruling because, as state Elections Director Chris Thomas puts it:
“I’m not headed to jail for contempt of a federal court,” he said. “That, I’m not doing.”
Monday, December 5, 2016:
The first recounts begin in Oakland and Ingham counties at noon on Monday to comply with the federal judge's order. Other counties begin to prepare their recounts.
Later in the day, more details are revealed about Michigan's recount rules when the Detroit News reports that in Wayne County, possibly half of the votes are not eligible to be recounted because precinct voter books do not match the number of ballots cast.
Sunday, December 4, 2016:
After hearing arguments on Sunday, federal judge Mark Goldsmith issues his ruling just after midnight: he says the Michigan recount should get started right away. He orders recounts to start at noon on Monday. It will become the largest recount in Michigan history if it goes forward.
Friday, December 2, 2016:
The Board of State Canvassers meets to rule on whether the recount should happen. The board deadlocks along party lines. Two Democrats vote in favor of the recount, two Republicans vote against it. Because of the deadlock, the recount will go forward unless the courts intervene.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette asks the courts to intervene:
Today I am filing suit to stop @DrJillStein's frivolous, expensive recount request.
— A.G. Bill Schuette (@SchuetteOnDuty) December 2, 2016
Thursday, December 1, 2016:
Republicans challenge Stein's request for a recount. The objection will be brought before the Board of State Canvassers.
Elections has received the objection from the Trump campaign. https://t.co/ah7fBjxBrB
— MI Sec of State (@MichSoS) December 1, 2016
Wednesday, November 30th, 2016:
Green Party candidate Jill Stein officially requests a recount in the state of Michigan. She has received millions in donations in support of recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) December 1, 2016
*We corrected two time posts for Thursday, December 8. We learned about the cancelation of the State Board of Canvassers meeting first thing in the morning.