Recount! Michigan has over 80,000 “blank votes”?

Today, Michigan certified its presidential vote for Trump, and the 48-hour clock is ticking for a recount request (Wednesday deadline). Here is some very interesting information about Michigan’s tally: the margin for Trump is 10,000, but the state has a surprising number of “blank ballots” for the presidential race, over 80,000, called “undervotes.” (read the update at the bottom). I put “blank ballots” in quotes, because many of those votes were probably not blank. Michigan did not have a Senate or Governor race, so people who showed up to vote probably cared about the presidential election. They could have voted for third-party candidates as protest votes, but they left the presidential race blank? Michigan uses the optical scan ballots (like Scantron), so voters may not have fully bubbled in the oval for the machine to detect it, but a hand count would determine voter intent.  It is still highly unlikely that Clinton would have any margin from those 80,000 sufficient to catch Trump, but that number might add up with the many provisional ballots that come disproportionately from minorities whose voter  registrations were targeted for “caging” by Republicans (see post below).

The bill for Michigan’s recount is about $800,000. Stein’s lawyer in Michigan is a veteran lawyer for the state Democratic Party.

The bottom line is that there is reasonable hope for a recount to flip Michigan, but Clinton would still need both Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, there is value in knowing more about our shoddy and rigged voting system and for making Trump enjoy the “suspense” he embraced back in October.

Author: Jed Shugerman

Legal historian at Fordham Law School, teaching Torts, Administrative Law, and Constitutional History. JD/PhD in History, Yale. Red Sox and Celtics fan, youth soccer coach. Author of "The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America" (2012) on the rise of judicial elections in America. I filed an amicus brief in the Emoluments litigation against Trump along with a great team of historians. I'm working on "The Rise of the Prosecutor Politicians," a history of prosecutors and American politics, and another project on the origins of independent agencies in America.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s