By ZEINAB NAJM
City clerks in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights were asked to turn in ballots from the Nov. 8 general election and then pick them back up after a Michigan recount was canceled.
Wayne County requested ballots be turned in at Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd. Dec. 5 for a statewide recount initiated by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
Two days later they were told the recount had been called off. U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan Judge Mark Goldsmith suspended the recount of 4.8 million ballots for president on Dec. 7.
“To date, plaintiffs have not presented evidence of tampering or mistake,” Goldsmith wrote in an eight-page opinion. “Instead, they present speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery — but not actual injury.”
He had ordered the recount to start on Dec. 5 but then removed his temporary restraining order against the Michigan Board of Elections on Dec. 7.
The recount would have cost state taxpayers more than $5 million.
Stein’s request questioned the 75,000 Michigan ballots where no vote for president was selected.
“We are deeply disappointed in Judge Goldsmith’s ruling today, which gives deference to partisan state judges in Michigan who are attempting to block the state’s recount simply because of the person who made the request, without regard for the integrity of Michigan’s electoral system,” Stein’s attorneys, Hayley Horowitz and Jessica Clarke, said in a statement.
President-elect Donald Trump received 2,279,543 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 2,268,839 votes, for a difference of 10,704 votes. Stein received 51,463, which was fourth behind Libertarian Gary Johnson’s 172,136.
In Dearborn, Trump received 12,171 votes, Clinton 24,940 and Stein 91. Dearborn Heights residents cast 9,005 votes for Trump, 13,279 for Clinton and 457 for Stein.
According to Goldsmith’s opinion, Stein was not able to prove she was an aggrieved candidate which is required by state to complete the recount.
Stein’s request instead questioned the Michigan election system and its vulnerability to fraud, which Goldsmith said, “lacked evidence.”
“The vulnerability of our system of voting poses the threat of a potentially devastating attack on the integrity of our election system,” he said. “But invoking a court’s aid to remedy that problem in the manner plaintiffs have chosen — seeking a recount as an audit of the election to test whether the vulnerability led to actual compromise of the voting system — has never been endorsed by any court and would require, at a minimum, evidence of significant fraud or mistake — and not speculative fear of them. Such evidence has not been presented here.”
Stein also has called for recounts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Trump defeated Clinton by 44,312 and 22,177 votes, respectively.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)