GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Training for the recount of votes cast in the presidential election in Kent County began late Monday afternoon at Wyoming Public Safety headquarters. The actual recount begins sometime Tuesday.
“We believe we will run until about 6 tomorrow night,” Kent County Clerk Mary Hollinrake said Monday. “I can’t tell you exactly when the recount itself will begin.”
That’s not just because of logistics. Lawsuits filed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and President-elect Donald Trump could lead to yet another delay in a recount that supporters say will prove once and for all whether the election was fraud- and error-free but opponents say is frivolous.
“That’s the part that’s made me hold up, because I have wanted to expend as little money as possible getting ready for this,” Hollinrake said of recount preparations.
Under the law, the candidate that requested the recount must reimburse Michigan county clerks $125 for every precinct counted in a recount. But if a judge orders a halt during the count, clerks are only reimbursed for the precincts already counted. If a judge steps in and stops the recount before it happens, the clerks get nothing and taxpayers will have to foot the bill.
“If we ramp up and incur thousands of dollars of expenses and we don’t proceed, Kent County doesn’t get reimbursed,” Hollinrake explained.
State elections officials estimate the cost of a full recount could run $5 million.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s campaign, which initiated the recount in Michigan and Wisconsin, is covering over $900,000 of the initial cost here in Michigan. Some of those costs, like clerk employees already on the payroll, are built in at the county level, but other costs are unavoidable.
“I have to feed people, we have to get certain supplies in, etcetera, etcetera,” Hollinrake said. “We won’t be reimbursed for the costs if we don’t proceed with the recount.”
Hollinrake can’t say precisely what those costs will be. Much of it depends on the duration of the recount.
“It’s really a wait and see,” Hollinrake said. “I’ll know more as we progress.”
Recounts are also scheduled to begin in Kalamazoo and Ottawa counties Tuesday. Oakland County in southeast Michigan has already started the process.—–Online: Recount information from the Michigan Secretary of State