BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, EDITOR
As of late last week, the presidential election recount requested by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was still expected to occur.
The Boyne City Gazette spoke with Charlevoix County Clerk Cherie Browe to see how the recount will affect the county.
“The State Board of Canvassers did not accept an objection from representatives of Donald J. Trump regarding the presidential election recount that was requested by Stein,” stated Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson in a statement to the press on Friday Dec. 2. “Under Michigan law, the recount will now start after the second business day following the board’s decision. That’s likely going to be Wednesday Dec. 7.”
According to Browe, to perform a recount, county clerk offices must follow all of the state mandated procedures starting with the county canvass board opening the canvass and reviewing the agenda with the participants.
As for the actual recounting of the ballots, Browe said dozens of helpers will be needed.
“This will take two people per unit and we have 20 units,” she said. “Some of the units are small so some teams will be able to do more than one unit. I estimate between 24 and 30 people.”
What will it cost?
Browe said the county will be reimbursed $125 per unit from Stein to help cover her costs.
“I do not have to pay the workers but I do not feel it is fair not to,” she said. “I have been working with other county clerks and they are paying their workers between $100 and $125 for the day. I will do the same.”
Browe said she will also have to pay the county canvass board’s four members a minimum of $75 plus mileage and she will have two staff members that will receive their regular pay if the work is done during work hours, and overtime if the recount runs into evening hours or is on a weekend.
“I will not receive any additional pay as this is part of my job,” said Browe.
Once in a lifetime?
Browe said she does not remember a presidential recount affecting Michigan during her many decades in office.
The recount will be overseen by the State Bureau of Elections on behalf of the state board of canvassers along with the county canvass board.
“This will be a long, labor-intensive day,” said Browe. “At the present time there is litigation at the state level asking for a machine count versus a hand count. The county clerks are asking for a hand count. A machine count will cause a hardship as the machines will need to be reprogrammed to count only the presidential election, which would also mean new test decks per machine.”
She added, “Then there is the logistics of transferring all of the 20 tabulators to the recount location with the ballots and having enough resources to plug them all in. At the present time, we are scheduled to hold our recount with Emmet county which will more than double the resources we will need for the machines.”