Was it merely old equipment which incompetent officials had failed to bother getting serviced, or was there something intentionally sinister going on? That’s the question now coming out of Michigan, where just as the statewide recount is getting underway, officials are finally admitting that the majority of vote counting machines in Detroit broke on election day. The stunning admission, which is getting virtually no national news coverage despite appearing in a major Detroit newspaper, casts doubt on the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s supposed narrow win in the state.
Even now, elections director Daniel Baxter appears to only be making the admission as part of a convoluted argument for why the ballots in those Detroit precincts can’t be recounted. He’s acknowledging that eighty-seven optical scanners in Detroit simply “broke” on the same day. But he and other Michigan officials are now making the argument that, because the broken machines resulted in different vote totals on the machines than on the precinct log books, state law means those ballots can’t be recounted.
The paradoxical argument, which is on full display in the Detroit News today, seems unlikely to pass the scrutiny of the federal judge who ruled on Sunday night that every county and precinct must immediately recount its votes by hand. But third party candidate Jill Stein, who initiated the recount and is paying for it, would need to take the matter back to the judge.
Meanwhile, the mere fact that fifty-nine percent of the vote counting machines in Michigan’s biggest city all broke on the same day is standing out as a stunning development. It calls into question why officials failed to publicly disclose this information until they needed it for their convoluted argument against recounting the majority of Detroit’s votes. With Detroit being 82% African-American and thus demographically likely to have heavily favored Hillary Clinton, it directly calls into question whether Donald Trump won Michigan.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report