Why Every American Should Care About Michigan’s Canceled Recount

As as the Michigan recount is being stalled in courts, it has become clear that 75,000 votes in the counties with highly Democratic populations came back with no vote for President- but with votes for candidates lower down the ballot. This is what is referred to as an “undervote” and is largely attributed to malfunctioning ballot reader machines. In a state that Trump won by 11,000 votes, this large number of undervotes could easily change the outcome of who won here.

Incredibly, Michigan laws prohibit a recount if there are discrepancies in reconciling the numbers of votes against the poll books. Which is insane, of course. In a Catch 22 move, these wonky recount laws disallow a recount for the very reasons that a recount would be justified: “a precinct is ineligible to be recounted if the ‘number of ballots to be recounted and the number of ballots issued on election day as shown on the poll list or the computer printout do not match and the difference is not explained to the satisfaction of the board of canvassers.’” If someone wanted to skew an election, all they would have to do is add or remove a few ballots so the poll books don’t match the number of votes, and there can be no recount.

Most of the mismatched poll books are in Wayne County, a heavily Democratic area with a population of over 1.7 million people. According to Detroit’s election director, eighty-seven of Wayne County’s decade-old voting machines broke on election day. From The Guardian: “Preliminary investigation by election officials in Wayne County found that 610 of the area’s 1,680 precincts could not reconcile the number of votes cast according to the machines with the number of ballots issued according to the electoral rolls. Detroit contains 662 of Wayne’s precincts; in 392 of those, the number of votes didn’t match up.”

After the 2000 recount debacle, Florida made laws that have made it almost impossible to get a recount request. Michigan’s laws are going the same way. Under pressure from Trump’s extensive and expensive legal team, a federal judge stopped the Michigan recount yesterday. This means that in our country, the candidate with the most money and influence is able to stop our votes from being properly counted. Which means that we no longer have the ability to elect our leaders, and our elections will become a farce. Which is what happened in Russia a few years ago and brought Putin to power. This is how dictatorships are formed.

This is not an issue of which side lost or which side won. This isn’t a matter of exit polls being wrong or hacked voting machines. This is an issue of grave national importance. This affects every single person in our vast country and the future of our democracy and is something that every single one of us needs to be aware of and speak out against.

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