Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada & Pennsylvania Recounts: Where Things Stand

wisconsin recount

Tabulators hand count ballots on the presidential recount on December 1, 2016 at the Green County Courthouse in Monroe, Wisconsin. (Getty)

The Wisconsin recount is in its 9th day without significant changes, Pennsylvania’s hasn’t started, Nevada’s changed 15 votes, and the Michigan recount ended after three days of counting.

That’s the tale of tape on December 9 when it comes to the three big recounts pushed by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Stein raised $7.2 million for the recounts. She has vowed to use any unspent money toward election integrity issues, but it’s unclear whether Federal Election Commission rules would let her do so.

There was also a partial recount occurring in Nevada; Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, an independent candidate, requested it. Only 93 precincts were counted there, though. And two voters have staged an unlikely last-ditch bid to force a recount in Florida.

The recounts were already the longest long shot: Hillary Clinton would need all three states – Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan – to flip in order to win the electoral college. With a federal judge ending Michigan’s recount on December 7, that effort is over, unless Stein could get the Michigan Supreme Court (or theoretically the U.S. Supreme Court) to overturn a lower state court’s ruling that Stein doesn’t have standing to force a recount in Michigan because she has no chance of winning the vote (she received only 1% in Michigan).

Clinton could make a better argument that she is an aggrieved party in Michigan – she lost the state by only about 10,000 votes, but so far only Stein has formally requested the Michigan recount (Clinton’s campaign has said it was participating in the Wisconsin recount, but Stein is the campaign that formally requested that effort, which is costing more than $3.5 million).

Here’s what you need to know for each state:

Wisconsin Recount

The Wisconsin recount had entered its 9th day on December 9, and all of the counting wasn’t changing very much.

A judge on the morning of December 9 took 20 minutes to reject a legal bid from Trump supporters to stop the recount.

Many Wisconsin municipalities did report changing numbers in spreadsheets posted on the Wisconsin Election Commission website. However, they were small in number. Furthermore, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton lost and gained votes throughout the state, and the gains basically cancelled out the losses for each.

The Wisconsin Election Commission reported that Hillary Clinton was up a net 61 votes on day 8. That’s the figure that matters; however, that’s an insignificant number considering that Donald Trump leads by about 22,000 votes in Wisconsin overall. Green Party nominee Jill Stein spent $3.5 million on the Wisconsin recount. On December 9, the Commission said Clinton’s gain was a net 49 votes as of day 9.

Trump/Pence originally led Clinton/Kaine by 22,177.

“So far, not including the City of Milwaukee, Clinton/Kaine have gained 82 more votes than Trump/Pence, but still trail,” the Commission said on December 7, with 70 percent of the votes recounted, putting the state on track to meet its December 13 deadline for completing the recount. By December 8, that total shrank to 61 and 82% of counties were done. However, the City of Milwaukee is not yet complete, as it is still tallying up absentee ballots.

The Commission also debunked claims of fraud in St. Croix and Waukesha Counties circulated on social media. The small errors throughout the state were attributed to human error by the Commission. There were some reports of uncounted ballots, jammed ballots, voters not using the right pens, and things like that. They just haven’t added up to enough to be significant.

There is one huge caveat to the notion that the Wisconsin returns are changing little: Milwaukee. Populous City of Milwaukee, a Clinton stronghold, has not yet reported any of its recount returns in a way that is significant. The Election Commission spreadsheet lists huge deficits for each candidate in Milwaukee, but that’s only because the city was still counting absentee ballots. Thus, it was impossible to tell yet whether there would be any major losses or gains in the City of Milwaukee, which, due to its population, was always Clinton’s best bet to pick up votes.


michigan recount

A recount of ballots cast in Oakland County, Michigan from the 2016 US presidential race is seen at the Oakland County Schools building on December 5, 2016 in Waterford, Michigan. (Getty)

In Michigan, the recount started on December 5, and had already involved 20 counties. There were reports of problems so significant that local newspapers said it was possible one half of Detroit’s votes couldn’t be recounted. That’s because machine printouts of vote tallies during the canvass did not match the numbers on the polling lists, according to The Detroit News. Issues were found in other Democratic areas.

However, a federal judge on December 7 ordered the Michigan recount to end after a state appeals court ruled that Stein was not an “aggrieved” party under Michigan law and, thus, did not qualify to force a Michigan recount. The judge found there was no evidence of fraud or mistakes in the Michigan election as Stein had alleged.

Stein’s only recourse would be to take the argument higher in the appellate courts – to the Michigan Supreme Court or perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court.

Right now, though, the recount has stopped in Michigan.


pennsylvania recount

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein raises her first after speaking at a news conference on Fifth Avenue across the street from Trump Tower December 5, 2016 in New York City. Stein, who has launched recount efforts in Michigan and Wisconsin, spoke about demanding a statewide recount on constitutional grounds in Pennsylvania. (Getty)

The Pennsylvania recount is bogged down in the federal court system, where Stein has sued to force a recount.

There will be a hearing in court on Stein’s request on December 9 in Pennsylvania, said ABC News. That’s only four days before the December 13 deadline to certify votes.

ABC said that Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania has shrunk in recent days even without the recount, and he now leads the state by 44,000. Still, that’s a larger margin than his margins in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Stein and her supporters have sought to examine electronic voting machines in Pennsylvania at the county levels too. A review of some machines in the Pittsburgh area was conducted without finding any errors. Stein and her voters are still demanding to have access to the actual machines for analysis.

Pennsylvania’s voting machines have been criticized before, since most do not have paper backups. Stein called Pennsylvania’s voting system a “national disgrace,” but she has offered no proof of hacking or manipulation of votes.


Nevada Early Voting Results, Hillary Clinton Donald Trump polls, battleground state polls, are polls wrong, are polls skewed, Latino voter turnout

A full recount is expected in Nevada only if the partial recount turns up discrepancies greater than 1 percent, said the AP. That will not happen because, on December 8, the Nevada Secretary of State said the recount had concluded and only 15 votes had changed.

USA Today said De La Fuente asked for the Nevada recount to “counterbalance” Stein’s recount requests because Clinton won Nevada. The newspaper added that most of the precincts being recounted are in the Las Vegas area.

Clinton won Nevada by 27,202 votes.


Clinton supporters watch voting results at Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's election night event at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center November 8, 2016 in New York City. Clinton is running against Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States. Battleground states kept going back and forth, like Virginia and Florida. (Getty)

Clinton supporters watch voting results at Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s election night event at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center November 8, 2016 in New York City. (Getty)

In Florida, three voters have filed suit alleging that Clinton actually won that state due to election manipulation and hacking they have not proven.

They want a hand recount of Florida’s votes; however, the Tallahassee Democrat calls the bid “unlikely,” saying court filings might not beat the December 19 Electoral College vote. Trump won Florida.

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