Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 Friday, on President-elect Donald Trump’s objection to Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s request for a recount of all presidential ballots cast in Michigan, meaning a hand recount of Michigan’s presidential ballots could begin late Tuesday or likely early Wednesday. Still, a lawsuit filed Friday by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette places any recount in doubt. Schuette asked the Michigan Supreme Court, which has a 5-2 majority of Republican nominees, to block the recount as a costly and pointless exercise. Trump also filed a lawsuit late Friday against the Board of State Canvassers, asking the Michigan Court of Appeals for an injunction to block the recount. Despite what would be a delayed start, Elections Director Chris Thomas said he still hopes all 4.8 million ballots can be recounted. He said he doubts the Dec. 13 deadline that has been frequently cited is a “real deadline,” and said Michigan may have until Dec. 17 — two days before the electoral college is set to meet — to complete its recount, though he said he is still researching that legal question.
The board deadlocked along party lines, both on whether to accept Trump’s protest to the planned recount and on whether to hold a machine recount, rather than the standard hand recount. Thomas said that as a result, based on previous board policy and state law, a hand recount can begin in two business days. Thomas said the recount might begin late Tuesday, but officials later said a Wednesday start is more likely, barring court intervention.
Estimates on the cost of the recount have varied and generally escalated. But Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams said Friday that nobody will know the cost until the recount is completed, but $5 million is a reasonable estimate. That’s more than $4 million higher than the filing fee Stein paid, and officials said taxpayers at the county level will have to pick up that difference.