For the first time in the history of the U.S., multiple states will recount all of the votes cast for the Presidential election. Michigan now joins Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in starting a recount.
"It's a turning point to make sure our elections belong to the people. We need to make this election was fair and square, we need to make sure that everybody has their voices heard," Lou Novak of the Green Party of Michigan said at a press conference Wednesday.
Presidential Candidate Jill Stein raised $973,250 to help offset the costs. Counting the ballots by hand is necessary to check the machines that count them on election day, says Jessica Clarke, an attorney for Stein's campaign to petition for a recount in Michigan. "Our campaign has found that more than 75 thousand votes in this election are what we call 'undervotes,' votes that machines did not record as selecting anyone for president," Stein said.
The vote counting machines could be hacked by a highly sophisticated organization, says University of Michigan Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Alex Halderman. The machines are not linked to the internet, but they are programmed by an external hard drive that could be hacked. Halderman says it's important to make sure that didn't happen with cyber defenses. "The paper ballots we use in Michigan are exactly that, they are a cyber defense, but paper doesn't do any good unless somebody looks at it," the professor said.
Others say it's just a waste of resources, like Michigan Republican Party Chairperson Ronna Romney McDaniel. The votes have already been check by the state board of canvassers, and McDaniel says the recount wastes money. "Counties use that money for roads, police, and firefighters, and, instead of having the budget for those things, we're going to be paying for a ridiculous recount for a woman who only received one percent of the Michigan vote," McDaniel said.
People who will oversee the recount started training Wednesday nigh, the recount will likely begin Friday.
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says the recount could cost counties as much as $4 million. Stein's campaign was asked if it would cover the additional costs, it said it could not speculate on that.
The Ingham County Clerk's Office is hiring up to 75 people to work from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. between December 2 and December 12. You don't have to be available every day, but must be able to work 11 hours shifts. It pays $125 per day.
If you are interested in helping count the votes, submit the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- First and Last Name
- Email Address
- Cell Phone Number
- Party Affiliation
- If served as a poll worker or challenger on election day, what precinct(s)