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GOP Predicts Recount Costs Will Be 'Eye Popping'

Nov 30, 2016

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Credit Courtesy Photo / migop.org

This afternoon marks the deadline for Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s campaign to ask for a recount of the ballots cast in Michigan’s presidential election. 


The estimated cost of recounting all the votes in Michigan’s presidential election continues to rise. State officials plan to charge Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein almost a million dollars to conduct the recount. 

If the Stein carries through with plans to demand a recount, state will demand a check for $973,250.  That’s higher than previous numbers, based on $125 per precinct.  Fred Woodhams of the Michigan Bureau of Elections says the number grew because of the high number of absentee ballots to be counted. 

But state officials and elections experts say the cost is likely to be much higher than the fee charged to the Stein campaign. 

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said on a radio show that she wouldn’t be surprised to see the cost go above $2 million.  Others say it could go even higher. 

Michigan doesn’t have any recent experience with statewide recounts.  The last one was a recount of a ballot question in 1968. 

The Michigan Republican Party is taking the lead in trying to block the recount.

“This recount is a ridiculous waste of time and resources,” said Michigan GOP chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.  She said the recount has virtually no hope of changing the result, and Stein has even less after winning just 1.1 percent of the votes.

Stein and campaign officials say their goal is not to change the result, but to test whether Michigan’s optical scan system accurately tallies paper ballots.  They say the machines could be susceptible to tampering because their software is owned by the manufacturer and can’t be inspected by the public. 

GOP attorney Eric Doster says a recount could wind up an expensive experiment.  

“I can’t imagine the cost could be any less for a statewide recount than a statewide election.  And that’s a one-day event, a statewide election,” he said.  “This is going to go a lot longer than one day, folks.”      

The 2016 election cost $10.5 million, according to the state elections bureau. 

“I think the costs are going to be eye-popping when the final tab gets to be paid,” said Doster. 

If the recount is not blocked by challenges, elections officials could begin the task of hand counting more than 4 million ballots as soon as Friday. 

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org