Michigan Report

The Michigan recount effort trained hundreds of volunteers who observed the recount in the first couple of days before it was stopped by the courts. This opposition was led by GOP operatives who fought hard to shut down the recount in a state with a very small margin between the top two candidates.

Stein filed a federal court action challenging the Michigan State Board’s decision to delay the recount and won. The recount began on December 5, 2016. But the the Michigan Republican Party and the Michigan Attorney General separately asked the federal appeals court (the Sixth Circuit) to stop the recount, and the Attorney General asked the entire Sixth Circuit court to consider the matter.

While we opposed this motion, late on December 6, after an intermediate state court in Michigan ruled that Stein was not a proper party to seek a recount under Michigan law because she did not come close enough to winning the election, the Michigan Attorney General and the Michigan Republican Party each filed motions asking the District Court to rescind its order and stop the recount. We opposed their motions as well but on December 7, 2016, the District Court dissolved its order requiring the Michigan recount to begin without delay, stopping the election recount immediately.

However, it didn’t take recount observers long to discover serious issues calling the accuracy of results into question, especially the problems with voting machines in Detroit and other communities of color. Since our recount demand, new voting machines for Detroit have been purchased and installed.

Contrary to unsubstantiated online rumors, there was no evidence of voter fraud in Detroit or other urban communities. There was, however, evidence that human and machine error had caused discrepancies in the official numbers of voters and votes cast. Under Michigan’s current laws, precincts with such discrepancies are ineligible to be recounted, meaning that the areas most in need of investigation are legally prevented from getting it - yet another example of how existing laws prevent verification of election results.

Recount observers were asked to send in unofficial reports of their experiences, which can be found here.

Below please find the complete history of our legal efforts for a full recount in Michigan in 2016:

November 29, 2016: Jill Stein asked the Michigan State Board of Canvassers to order a recount.  

November 30, 2016: the State Board ordered a recount starting on December 2.  

Trump objected to the recount.  After Trump objected, the State Board delayed the recount.  We opposed Trump’s objections.  

December 2, 2016: The State Board, by a 2-2 vote, rejected Trump’s objections and ordered that the hand recount should start late Tuesday (December 6) or early Wednesday (December 7).  

December 2, 2016: Stein filed a federal court action challenging the State Board’s decision to delay the start of the recount and asked the judge to order the recount to proceed immediately.

December 4, 2016: The federal judge held a rare Sunday hearing in Federal Count. Stein’s counsel argued that the recount not be delayed as the deadline to finalize the vote total for the Electoral College was December 13, 2016

December 5, 2016: Just after midnight, the federal judge ordered the recount to begin by noon later that day. The judge ordered the government units participating in the recount "work sufficient hours to assure that the recount is completed in time to comply with the 'safe harbor' provision."

The Michigan Republican Party and the Michigan Attorney General separately asked the federal appeals court (the Sixth Circuit) to stop the recount, and the Attorney General asked the entire Sixth Circuit court to consider the matter.

December 6, 2016: In three back-to-back filings, we opposed all three requests: the Republican Party’s request at 11 am, the Attorney General’s request for a stay at noon, and the request for consideration by the entire court at 1pm.

The Sixth Circuit rejected the attempts to stop the recount and agreed with the District Court’s order to begin the recount immediately. It also denied the request to be heard by the entire court.

December 6, 2016: Late in the day, after an intermediate state court in Michigan ruled that Stein was not a proper party to seek a recount under Michigan law because she did not come close enough to winning the election, the Michigan Attorney General and the Michigan Republican Party each filed motions asking the District Court to rescind its order and stop the recount. 

December 7, 2016: We opposed their motions early the next morning and the Federal District Court ordered a hearing for 10:30am.

December 7, 2016: the District Court dissolved its order requiring the Michigan recount to begin without delay, stopping the election recount immediately.

Recount Petition

Trump's Objection to Recount Petition

Stein Response to Trump’s Objections to Recount Petition

Stein Federal Complaint Enjoining Delay of Recount 

Stein Motion Enjoining Delay of Recount

Expert Affidavits in Support of Stein’s federal action: HaldermanStarkHurstiJonesRivestWallachVora  

Michigan Order Denying Delay of Recount

Republican Party’s Motion for a stay in federal appeals court and exhibits

Stein’s Opposition to Republican Party’s Motion for a stay in federal appeals court

Michigan Attorney General’s Motion for a stay in federal appeals court and exhibits

Stein’s opposition to Michigan Attorney General’s Motion for a stay in federal appeals court

Republican Party’s Motion for En Banc Review with Exhibits 

Stein’s opposition to Republican Party’s Request for En Banc Review

Sixth Circuit’s affirmation of District Court’s order for immediate recount

Michigan Attorney General’s motion to dissolve the order for immediate recount

Michigan Republican Party’s motion to dissolve the order for immediate recount

Stein’s opposition to motions to dissolve the order for immediate recount

Sixth Circuit’s denial of Republican Party’s and Attorney General’s requests for en banc review

District Court’s Order Ending the Recount

Michigan Attorney General and Trump Sue the State Board: On December 2, the Michigan AG and Trump sued the State Board of Canvassers in in Michigan state court to stop the recount.  While the two lawsuits were filed separately, the court consolidated them.  Jill Stein opposed the attempt to stop the recount.  

The Michigan court of appeals scheduled a hearing for December 6 at 4 p.m. Stein filed a motion to disqualify two Michigan Supreme Court judges (Chief Justice Young and Justice Larsen) because they are on Trump’s own “List of Potential Supreme Court Justices.” 

Late on December 6, the Michigan Court of Appeals found that Jill Stein was not entitled to seek a recount because she did not qualify as an “aggrieved candidate” under state law. After this decision, the federal District Court dissolved its order requiring the Michigan recount to begin without delay, stopping the election recount immediately.

Attorney General Complaint against the State Board of Canvassers

Trump’s Suit Against the State Board of Canvassers

Stein Motion to Intervene in AG action and proposed response to AG Complaint (in the appellate court and the Supreme Court)

Stein’s Motion to Disqualify Chief Justice Young and Justice Larsen

Michigan Supreme Court grants Trump and AG’s writ of Mandamus


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  • Robert Blackmon
    published this page in Recount Reports 2017-12-08 12:19:31 -0500