Good news for Trump: Michigan recount effort hits major snag in Detroit

Good news for Trump: Michigan recount effort hits major snag in Detroit
Officials count ballots during a statewide presidential election recount in Waterford Township, Mich., Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The presidential vote recount effort in the state of Michigan hit a major snag today, as Wayne County officials indicated that as many as half of Detroit’s precincts may not be eligible to participate in the recount. According to Michigan law, a precinct must be able to reconcile their vote totals with the total number of ballots cast, or their original election results must stand and they are not eligible for participation in a recount.

These officials announced that they are not yet able to reconcile 392 of the 662 precincts in heavily Democratic Detroit. A total of 610 out of 1,680 precincts in Wayne County cannot currently be reconciled.

Detroit officials offered the following explanation for the widespread problems:

“It’s not good,” conceded Daniel Baxter, elections director for the city of Detroit.

He blamed the discrepancies on the city’s decade-old voting machines, saying 87 optical scanners broke on Election Day. Many jammed when voters fed ballots into scanners, which can result in erroneous vote counts if ballots are inserted multiple times. Poll workers are supposed to adjust counters to reflect a single vote but in many cases failed to do so, causing the discrepancies, Baxter said.

Baxter stated his belief that when they are actually able to open the boxes of ballots and do a manual count, they will in fact match in most of the precincts:

Even so, Baxter said it’s unlikely all 392 of the city’s precincts with mismatched numbers will be disqualified from a recount. The city is in contact with elections officials at the state of Michigan and Baxter predicted the numbers will match when the ballot boxes are re-opened for the recount, which starts Tuesday in Wayne County at Cobo Center.

“It’s a challenge, but we’re confident the ballots will match,” Baxter said. “I don’t think it’s going to be 100 percent, but it never is with a recount.”

County reports obtained by The Detroit News, though, indicate canvassers were provided no explanation for why the numbers didn’t add up in those precincts. They certified the results of the election anyway.

Still, the news that any Detroit precincts will not be able to participate in the recount is likely a death blow to the hopes of Green Party candidate Jill Stein that the recount will end up throwing Michigan’s Electoral College votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Detroit and surrounding areas went heavily for Clinton, and are the only reason the state of Michigan was even close, as most of the rest of the state went solidly for Trump.

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