Federal Judge Orders Recount of Michigan’s Presidential Ballots


A federal judge early Monday morning ordered a recount of Michigan’s presidential ballots to begin at noon on Monday, and for the state to “assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours” to complete the recount by a Dec. 13 federal deadline.

Lawyers for Green Party candidate Jill Stein urged the action in an emergency request, and U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith held a rare Sunday hearing in federal court. It lasted three hours, and Goldsmith issued a written opinion just after midnight Monday morning.

Goldsmith said a state law requiring a two-business-day waiting period to start the recount probably violates voting rights. Stein has shown “a credible threat that the recount, if delayed, would not be completed” by Dec. 13 — the federal “safe harbor” deadline to guarantee Michigan’s electoral votes are counted when the electoral college meets Dec. 19.

“With the perceived integrity of the presidential election as it was conducted in Michigan at stake, concerns with cost pale in comparison,” Goldsmith said in his opinion.

In ordering the recount to begin at noon Monday, rather than Wednesday morning under the two-day waiting period the state planned to observe, Goldsmith ordered the recount, once started, “must continue until further order of this court.”

There was no immediate word on an appeal to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Stein filed suit against state election officials in federal court in Detroit late Friday to expedite the recount, the latest in a slew of lawsuits over her request for a recount of Michigan’s presidential election vote.

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SOURCE: USA Today; Detroit Free Press, Paul Egan and Tresa Baldas