Newspapers often uncover vital political news, but they have a habit of burying it in the second half of an article whose focus and headline are elsewhere. Perhaps they don’t know how to prioritize the information they uncover. Or perhaps they’re afraid of looking biased if they lead with the most important part of the story, because the most important political developments do tend to make one side or the other look really bad. And so sometimes crucial news gets reported but goes largely missed, such as the fact that officials in Michigan certified the election results despite knowing the totals didn’t add up.
Yesterday the Detroit News casually mentioned in the ninth paragraph of an article yesterday that Michigan officials had certified their election results even though they knew the vote totals didn’t add up. To be clear, these are the exact words in that ninth paragraph: “County reports obtained by The Detroit News, though, indicate canvassers were provided no explanation for why the numbers didn’t add up in those precincts. They certified the results of the election anyway.” Click through to the above link and read it within context of the paragraphs above and below it if you like. But the bottom line is that they hurried up and certified the election results even though they knew the numbers didn’t add up, without even knowing why the numbers didn’t add up. What on earth?
This same Detroit News article, to its credit, contains any number of vital tidbits about the Michigan recount. For instance it reveals in its third paragraph that the majority of vote counting machines in Detroit managed to break on Election Day for unknown reasons. That just happens to be the region where the voting should have most heavily favored Hillary Clinton. Did these broken machines cause votes not to be counted in these precincts? Is this why so many ballots from Detroit were recorded as only casting ballots in downticket races – even though there were no high profile downticket races in the state – and not casting votes in the presidential race?
Even if a proportional number of ballots for Clinton and Donald Trump were lopped of by these malfunctions across Detroit, it would have cost Clinton far more votes than Trump. And this is in a state where the final (supposed) margin of victory for Trump was a smidge over ten thousand votes, even though polls (and common sense) all had Clinton winning Michigan. Go back and read that ninth paragraph from the Detroit News article again: “County reports obtained by The Detroit News, though, indicate canvassers were provided no explanation for why the numbers didn’t add up in those precincts. They certified the results of the election anyway.” No wonder officials have been trying to prevent a recount from happening.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report