U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ordered an immediate start to a recount of votes in Michigan, a state Donald Trump won by just over 10,000 votes. The recount will start at noon on December 5, in order to be finished by the December 13 federal deadline.
Goldsmith issued his opinion early Monday after he held Sunday hearing in response to Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s emergency request. Stein showed “a credible threat that the recount, if delayed, would not be completed” by December 13 if the recount didn’t start immediately, reports the Detroit Free Press. Therefore, Goldsmith agreed to waive a two-business day waiting period before starting the recount.
“With the perceived integrity of the presidential election as it was conducted in Michigan at stake, concerns with cost pale in comparison,” Goldsmith wrote.
As a result of Goldsmith’s sudden ruling, county clerks are rushing to find help to conduct the recount. “We’re just trying to get the logistics hammered out. Not many people replied to my text message at 12:30 this morning,” Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum told the Free Press. “We are preparing for recount to start at noon.”
Michigan was the last state called for Trump, who received 2,279,543 votes (47.5 percent) to Hillary Clinton’s 2,268,839 (47.3 percent). That’s a difference of only 10,704 votes. Stein received just 51,463 votes, based on the current tally. Michigan has 16 electoral votes and the electoral college meets on December 19 to make the election results official.
Stein has also successfully called for a recount in Wisconsin and is fighting for a recount in Pennsylvania. She has raised over $7.14 million to fund recount efforts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Over the weekend, Stein initially said she would drop her call for a recount in Pennsylvania, only to announce plans to “escalate” the fight with a federal lawsuit.
The Michigan Republican Party has been fighting the recount effort and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a motion to stop the recount on December 2.
“Today I am filing suit to stop @DrJillStein’s frivolous, expensive recount request,” Scheutte wrote on Twitter. “Mich voters rejected @DrJillStein’s candidacy and her refusal to accept verified results poses an expensive &a risky threat to MI taxpayers. It is inexcusable for Stein to put MI votes at risk of paying millions and potentially losing their voice in the Elec College. I have filed an emergency motion with the Mich Supreme Court to bypass the Court of Appeals to ensure a timely process.”
Although the recount is already underway, the Michigan Republican Party has filed an appeal of Goldsmith’s ruling, The Detroit Free Press reports. The recount will continue, unless the ruling is overturned or stayed.
For more on the Michigan recount: