Recount 2016 Update: Michigan Count By County Reveals Voting Machine Discrepancies

Christine Beswick

Recount 2016 is well underway in Michigan and Wisconsin. This is the effort launched by Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and others to recount certain states after election day in the United States. Various reasons have been cited for the recount, including hacking concerns, voting machine discrepancies, and close margins between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in three key swing states. The requested recount in Pennsylvania has resulted in a lawsuit in federal court, and the vote counting has not begun.

Few believe that Recount 2016 will change the outcome of election day in the United States. Jill Stein of the Green Party says that the main intent of her Recount 2016 initiative is to ensure the election was a fair process and one with integrity. As the recount is now in full swing in two swing states, discrepancies are already starting to arise.

Michigan started their recount yesterday, and The Guardian reports that Michigan’s count by county is already experiencing problems and discrepancies with broken polling machines and numbers that don’t match ballot numbers. The Detroit Free Press reports that a spokesperson for Jill Stein’s Recount 2016 efforts says this underscores the need for a recount in the key swing states.

After tweeting that millions of illegals voted in this election, and saying that the election carried voter fraud, Donald Trump has moved to block the recounts in all swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, through a team of lawyers and legal motions. He has to date been unsuccessful in blocking Recount 2016.

Recount 2016 began in Michigan yesterday and has already reportedly been experiencing problems. The Guardian reports that broken polling machines have put the vote counts in many precincts in question. At the time of press, approximately one-third of the precincts in Wayne County, Michigan, are said to be affected, and “more than one-half” of Detroit’s precincts are in question.

If those discrepancies can not be resolved, that means those precincts would be disqualified from the recount. In that event, their initial election day counts would serve as the final numbers for Michigan’s count by county in Recount 2016.

The Guardian reports that Detroit’s election director Michael Baxter says that as many as 87 voting machines in Wayne County, Michigan, broke on election day. Baxter says that in many cases, ballot scanners jammed when polling precinct workers were trying to use them. Michael Baxter reportedly believes that every time that a ballot was removed, and retried into the machine, the machine may have counted the ballot a second time.

Out of the 1,680 precincts in Wayne County, officials found that 610 precincts were not able to match the number of votes cast, with the number of ballots issued on election day. Detroit, Michigan, a largely Democratic area of the state, is home to 662 precincts in Wayne County.

The Guardian reports that 392 of those precincts are reporting that their numbers just aren’t adding up. Michael Baxter expressed confidence that a hand recount would be able to find those discrepancies. The paper ballots of Michigan are currently “sealed and stored under guard.”

If the hand recount is unable to resolve the discrepancies, the numbers from election day will stand. Professor Halderman of the University of Michigan is an expert in digital democracy and wrote a sworn affidavit for Jill Stein saying that these machine problems are the basis for warranting a recount in swing states where there is a small margin of a vote differential between the two main candidates, such as Michigan.

Halderman appears to be proven correct, as the recount is in full swing in this swing state, and many problems at the machine level are coming up, reports The Guardian.

Keenan Pontoni, a Michigan state co-ordinator for Recount 2016 told the Detroit Free Press, “We’re seeing this issue in several instances of precincts being deemed not-recountable because the numbers don’t match. We think that any instance where ballots are not being counted compromises the process. This is an example of why we need to conduct a recount in the first place and verify the vote. These are the kinds of issues discovered during a recount that can then be fixed in future elections.”

Mark Grebner, a political consultant that has looked at Michigan elections for decades also told the Detroit Free Press that to discount a precinct because the numbers don’t match is counter-intuitive to the recount process. He said, “Michigan law is stupid on this point. It makes no sense, and it should be fixed. Other states don’t do this.”

Grebner also said that the Michigan county by county results that are experiencing discrepancies could be due to human error on election day. He says the poll workers were there at the crack of dawn, until well past midnight. He also said some of them are older people that worked a 15-hour day, increasing the likelihood of human error.

Spoiled ballots are another reason the discrepancies could be occurring reports The Guardian. Officials said that when a ballot was spoiled, sometimes the voter would get frustrated and leave, instead of staying to make sure the vote was cast. This could also lead to a discrepancy in the final numbers, and the number of ballots issued, which is at the heart of the recount issues currently happening in the Michigan count by county today.

Nevada is also undergoing a recount of Elections 2016. It is not one of the swing states in the Recount 2016 effort led by Jill Stein. A recount is happening here at the request of Roque De La Fuente who lost the race with less than a one percent margin reports the Chicago Tribune. He has paid $14,000 for the recount to cover 92 precincts in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area.

If the recount of this sample size shows a margin less than one percent for Hillary Clinton or Roque De LA Fuente, a state-wide recount in Nevada will occur. It was in Nevada on Election Day when Donald Trump’s lawyers were trying to block Latino votes in a court hearing, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. His motion was denied with the judge expressing incredulity over the notion that the motion was even attempted.

CBS reports that the recount in Wisconsin continues and is expected to go on for some time. After the recount had continued through the weekend, only six counties had completed their recount by Monday morning, with no real changes to the election day tallies. Both candidates were down by approximately 20 votes in total thus far.

Jill Stein has also continued to push legally for a recount in Pennsylvania, filing a federal lawsuit on Monday seeking a statewide recount, reports CBS News. This comes after she dropped a Pennsylvania lawsuit seeking the same. Donald Trump’s margin has already shrunk in Pennsylvania since Recount 2016 efforts began.

These four states are not the only states where citizens are pushing for a recount. In Florida, Time Magazine reports that three voters have filed a lawsuit asking for a recount as well. It is being touted as a long-shot effort, but the voters feel that Hillary Clinton won more votes in Florida than Donald Trump.

That lawsuit was filed in Leon Circuit Court on Monday reports Time Magazine. Those voters allege that hacking and malfunctioning machines resulted in incorrect tallies. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking a hand recount statewide. The margin between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Election Day is only 1.2 percent, which is not low enough to trigger an automatic recount.

The voters are suing Florida’s 29 Republican presidential electors, as well as Governor Rick Scott and Donald Trump in their quest for a recount. The plaintiff’s attorney says it is possible the plaintiffs will not get a response on their motion before the Electoral College meets on December 19. In the meantime, the recount efforts continue in Wisconsin, and Nevada, and in the statewide Michigan county by county recounts.

[Featured Image by Paul Sancya/AP Images]