Michigan finalizes election results amid recount effort

Campaign 2016 | While his opponents demand recounts in three swing states, the president-elect claims millions voted illegally
by Evan Wilt
Posted 11/28/16, 03:35 pm

WASHINGTON—Election officials in Michigan have finally announced a winner in the Nov. 8 election. President-elect Donald Trump will collect the state’s 16 electoral votes, bumping his total to 306 over Hillary Clinton’s 232.

Trump won Michigan by just two-tenths of a percentage point—10,704 votes—the state’s closest presidential contest in more than 75 years. It’s the first time a Republican has won the state since 1988.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein plans to ask for a recount, one of three such requests in swing states that sparked tweets of protest from Trump on Sunday.

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump wrote.

His comments came a day after Clinton announced she will join Stein to request a recount in Wisconsin. Current national popular vote totals place Clinton ahead of Trump by more than 2 million ballots, but she came short in key swing states needed to win the election. Stein successfully petitioned for a recount in Wisconsin and is working to do the same in Michigan. She hoped for a recount in Pennsylvania, but missed the deadline. Trump won all three states by about 100,000 votes combined. Recount proponents claim an audit of election totals is healthy, but the president-elect asserts the real problem is fraudulent voters tipping the scales for Democrats.

In subsequent tweets, Trump said he would have won the popular vote if the United States did away with the Electoral College because he would have focused his campaign efforts on a handful of populous states.

“I would have won even more easily and convincingly (but smaller states are forgotten)!” he tweeted. Trump claims serious fraud influenced outcomes in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California but the media isn’t reporting it. Clinton edged out Trump in each of those states.

In a conference call with reporters this morning, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said it’s premature to announce the Trump administration will investigate voter fraud but it’s certainly an issue of concern. Miller added the media should give as much attention to illegitimate ballots as they do to Stein and Clinton’s recount efforts.

Stein received about 1 percent of the total votes cast in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. She said she wants recounts in all three based on principle, not because she thinks she’ll win.

“What we’re doing is standing up for an election system that we can trust,” Stein said in a video on her Facebook page. “We deserve to have votes that we can believe in.”

The Clinton campaign made a similar argument when it announced it will support a Wisconsin recount.

In a post on Medium.com, Marc Elias, the Clinton team’s general counsel, acknowledged he had no evidence to suggest the recount will make a difference in the election.

“Regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself,” Elias said.

According to data from FairVote, only 27 of 4,687 statewide general elections between 2000 and 2015 prompted recounts. Just three of the 27 changed the outcome of the election—each led to wins for Democrats: Al Franken’s win in Minnesota’s 2008 U.S. Senate race; Thomas Salmon’s win in Vermont’s 2006 auditor election; and Christine Gregoire’s win in Washington’s 2004 gubernatorial race. But a recount has never changed the outcome of a national election.

The median adjustment for the top two candidates in the 27 recounts is 219 votes. The largest change was Florida’s 2000 presidential election recount, when Al Gore’s total jumped 1,247 votes. 

About 11,000 votes in Michigan, 22,000 in Wisconsin, and 70,000 in Pennsylvania would have to swing from Trump to Clinton to change the outcome.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission met today to approve a Dec. 13 cutoff date for its recount, but it blocked Stein’s request to recount votes by hand. She quickly announced she will sue. Stein will petition Michigan before its deadline on Wednesday.

Evan Wilt

Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.

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  • AL
    Posted: Mon, 11/28/2016 04:39 pm

    Who would do the recount?  Would the results be any more trustworthy?


  • Borvoc
    Posted: Tue, 11/29/2016 02:33 pm

    Maybe someone could sneak in a few more "trustworthy" ballots. :P I get what you mean, though.

  • Fuzzyface
    Posted: Mon, 11/28/2016 06:19 pm

    If I remember correctly the recount in Florida seemed to make the results less trustworthy.

  • Borvoc
    Posted: Tue, 11/29/2016 02:34 pm

    That's kind of funny.

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Tue, 11/29/2016 02:14 am

    Jill Stein says that the recount is to ensure the integrity of the election.  Well, if that were true then:

    1. Why only recount in swing states that Trump won?  Integrity would demand recounting also states that Hillary won.

    2. Why demand that the recount must be done by hand, thus ensuring that the recount could not be done before the deadline and thus throwing the whole election into upheaval.

    3. If Jill Stein didn't run, Hillary may have won.  Stein took away votes in those swing states.

    4. After weeks of outrage against Trump for possibly challenging the election, why is it OK for Democrats to do it?

    5. Why not challenge the fact that illegal aliens can obtain licenses in some Democratic states, which at least in CA automatically registers them to vote?

  • Borvoc
    Posted: Tue, 11/29/2016 02:36 pm

    Lots of good points.

  • Fuzzyface
    Posted: Tue, 11/29/2016 10:37 am

    Xion,  you are probably right that many Stein voters would probably have voted for Hilary if she wasn't on the ballot, but my guess is that if the other 3rd party candidates were not on the ballot there would have been a greater increase in number of votes for Trump than Clinton.  So states like New Hampshire, New Mexico and maybe even Virginia could have been for Trump as well.

  • Borvoc
    Posted: Tue, 11/29/2016 02:44 pm

    Good point. I'm so into this article, I'm apparently commenting on every post.

  • Borvoc
    Posted: Tue, 11/29/2016 02:32 pm

    I agree with everything in this article.

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Tue, 11/29/2016 11:40 pm

    Just wondering, World, why this article doesn't mention that Trump presented no evidence whatsoever when he claimed that 3 million illegal immigrants were successfully and surreptitiously able to cast ballots for Hillary? Trump's words are reminiscent of a common tactic he used during the presidential election campaign--just make wild statements that aren't true and voila!--they instantly become "fact." I realize that World simply presented the news that Trump tweeted such and such. We should have all learned by now, however, that Trump's tweets are often not a reliable source of true information, and it seems a bit of evidence should accompany such a momentous pronouncement. His statements seem to me to fall into the category of "false news" that we hear so much about lately.

    California requires U.S. citizenship to vote, and the process of getting a driver's license itself does not automatically qualify one to vote. The state does check up on citizenship at the time licenses are obtained, as authentic identification is required. The license itself is also different than that obtained by a U.S. citizen. The special license for those without proper immigration papers uses the initials “DP” (Driver’s Privilege) instead of “DL” (Driver’s License). It also adds a notice that states: “This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes. This license is issued only as a license to drive a motor vehicle. It does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.”

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Thu, 12/01/2016 03:29 am

    West Coast Mom,  On what basis do you say that illegals are not registered to vote in CA when they get a license?  The law does not say they are prohibited.  On the contrary, it says the following,

    “…if a person who is ineligible to vote becomes registered to vote by operation of this program, and that person votes or attempts to vote in an election held after the effective date of the person’s registration, that person shall be presumed to have acted with official authorization and is not guilty of fraudulently voting or attempting to vote…”


    In other words, if an illegal alien is caught voting, then it is not their fault; it is the fault of the state.

    So while Trump did not provide specific evidence, his claim isn’t unreasonable.  There are about 12 million illegal aliens that we know about, but the number is more likely to be 20 to 30 million given they don’t tend to admit such things publically.  An ICE agent who arrested about 1000 illegals recently asked them whether they voted and 10% admitted they did.  Ten percent of 30 million is 3 million.

    Before the election, President Obama said in a widely published interview that if illegals voted, no one would come after them.  And as we can see, no illegal was discovered voting fraudulently even though we know that it does occur. 


  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Fri, 12/02/2016 10:45 pm

    To Xion in reply to your reply to my original post:

    Your quotation of the California DMV is quite out of context.


    California  AB60 clearly states that truthful identity must be provided at the time of registration for a permit to drive. If the applicant cannot prove a legal right to be in the United States, they must nevertheless verify their truthful identity by the use of acceptable documents, even those issued by a foreign government. The fact that they cannot prove legal presence in the United States is revealed in the process. Such a person in California may still be granted a driver's license with the letters DP written on the front and a statement to the effect that this DP does not constitute legal voter registration.


    The portion you did not quote also states that it is a crime for an  illegal alien to vote in the US. If such a person is registered to vote through no fault of their own, i.e., by a mistake of a DMV employee or a mistake of the Secretary of State, then the registrant will not be held liable, but only if they voted without willful fraud on their part, ie, ignorantly. This is the limited portion that you quoted.


    Finally, the article you referenced at the bottom of your comment states that 0% of illegal immigrants were found to have voted. You interpreted this as meaning the number zero, which is easily falsifiable. However, 0% does not mean zero. For instance, 1/30,000,000 =0. Check it out! 300,000 are necessary for 1% of thirty million to be reached. So, what your article stated is that less than 300,000 fraudulent voters were discovered.