The Michigan recount drama is finally over with 75 of 83 counties called for Republican candidate Donald Trump. Trump won the popular vote in the state of Michigan by 10,704 votes.
Michigan was the last state to officially certify its election results. Unofficial results were available on November 9, after which county canvassing boards began their work to review and certify the results. As the Michigan state department website explains alongside its final tally, “The detailed county canvassing process ensures that Michigan residents can have full confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the results.”
The final results were available by November 28. Until these certified results were available, Google, CNN, and some other mainstream media outlets chose not to call Michigan for either candidate due to how close the race was there. Michigan was the closest state in the union, with Donald Trump winning by 0.3 of a percentage point.
Now that the certified results are in, Michigan’s 16 electoral votes will officially go to Trump on December 19.
But the road to an official result in Michigan was bumpy. Green party presidential candidate Jill Stein initiated a recount as part of what she called “a historic fight for voting justice!“
She also initiated recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, despite the fact that New Hampshire, which was called for Clinton, was closer than either of those states.
Stein raised $7.3 million for the recount effort in a matter of days. The amount is over twice as much as she raised throughout her entire presidential campaign.
Critics called the recount a money grab, including the president-elect.
The initial recount process began while the courts tried to determine if the move was legal. Since Stein received only 1.1 percent of the votes in Michigan, opponents argued that she was not an aggrieved candidate. Even though Stein raised millions of dollars for the recount effort, the money pays for legal fees and a full recount could cost Michigan taxpayers $5 million. Stein’s lawyers argued that a recount was necessary to address voting discrepancies across the state.
In a widely-quoted interview by The Guardian, Detroit’s election director, Michael Baxter, says that as many as 87 voting machines broke in Wayne County, Michigan. Ballots may have been counted twice when voting machines jammed and ballots had to be fed into the machine a second time.
Stein’s lawyers seized on the issue when it was discovered that hundreds of precincts in Wayne County could not match the number of votes cast for the final tally with the number of ballots issued on election day. It was important to address from the perspective of voters’ rights, but unlikely to affect Trump’s lead in any way. Wayne County was one of only eight counties in the state that was called for Hillary Clinton.
In fact, Clinton led by such a large margin in Wayne County that the most votes for her from the entire state came from there. Nearly a quarter of her total votes, 517,842, came from this county. She won 67 percent of the vote there to Trump’s 30 percent. That is a difference of 37 percent. That is a huge margin and a difference of 288,934 votes in favor of Clinton.
Barring nearby Washetenaw County, where Clinton also secured a big lead, the race in the other six Democrat-called counties was much closer. But these counties, like all other counties in Michigan, have much smaller populations.
In other words, rather than disenfranchising voters in Wayne County, the jammed machines would have disenfranchised voters in other counties, by counting the ballots of the Wayne County voters more than once.
The recount effort officially ended this Wednesday when the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the recount should never have started. The Michigan Supreme Court agreed.
If you would like to see the final election results for Michigan, Politico has detailed results for each county.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]