Green Party candidate Jill Stein is in line for a big check from the State of Michigan after the recount she requested was stopped by a federal judge and the state Board of Canvassers after only three days of counting ballots. Under state law, Stein had to pay $125 per precinct — or $973,250 — to count Michigan’s 7,786 in-person and absentee voting precincts. That check was delivered to state officials when she requested the recount last week. Now, with only a fraction of the recount completed, Michigan’s Secretary of State is prepared to refund a portion of that amount, said Fred Woodhams, spokesman for Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. Stein will have to pay for the precincts in Michigan that were counted, but she will not be charged for the precincts that couldn’t be counted because of problems with the ballot containers. When the recount was stopped Wednesday after a ruling from U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith, 26 counties had started counting their ballots.
A full tally of how many precincts have been counted in those 26 counties was not available from the state on Thursday, but in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Ingham counties, 1,364 precincts had been counted by the end of Wednesday for a grand total of $170,500 for counting done in four of Michigan’s biggest counties.
Ingham County is the only one of Michigan’s 83 counties that was done with its recount of 115 precincts and six that couldn’t be counted because ballot containers were improperly sealed. Oakland finished 667 out of 1,025 precincts with 35 precincts unable to be recounted. Macomb finished 171 of 670 precincts with 14 not recountable and Wayne counted 411 of 1,680 precincts, but couldn’t recount 128 precincts because of mistakes. “That’s fair, that we pay the fee for the ones that were counted,” said Stein’s attorney, Mark Brewer. “The law provides that for the precincts that were unrecountable, that she should get a refund.”
But Margy Levinson, a Stein campaign spokesperson, said the campaign wants the full amount back from the state. “In the event that the Supreme Court fails to act, we expect the $970,000 filing fee to be returned to the campaign,” she said.