There’s nothing like a good court-mandated statewide recount to get officials to start admitting to their initial failures before it all comes out in the wash. Just one day into the Michigan recount, a state where the election results were wildly out of line with polls and demographic projections – particularly in Detroit and the surrounding Wayne County – officials are now admitting that a whopping eighty-seven vote counting machines broke on Election Day in Detroit alone.
Daniel Baxter, the elections director for the city of Detroit, made the admission to the local newspaper, the Detroit News. He blamed aging equipment and summed up the station by saying that “It’s not good.” This revelation should serve to further demonstrate the need for a recount, and help justify why a federal judge ordered over the weekend that a recount immediately began.
But instead, officials are now arguing the opposite. They’re claiming that because so many optical scanners broke on Election Day, it resulted in incorrect voting totals on those machines in comparison to the precinct books. Further, they’re arguing that because the numbers are wrong in those precincts to begin with, the votes in those precincts cannot be recounted. They’re citing a state statute which seems plainly unconstitutional, but has yet as of yet not been challenged in a real world setting.
This comes even as third party candidate Jill Stein, who spearheaded the recount effort in Michigan, has pointed out that the official numbers have 87,000 voters in the state supposedly having voted in a downticket race but not the presidential race. With no Senate or Governor races in Michigan in 2016, there would have been little to bring that many people to the polls who didn’t care to cast a vote in the presidential race. Moreover, most of these “undervotes” came from the same Detroit area where 87 vote scanning machines broke. It suggests the machines may have simply failed to record the presidential votes on those ballots – thus further the need for the hand recount.