Wexford County Clerk Weighs In on Michigan Presidential Recount - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Wexford County Clerk Weighs In on Michigan Presidential Recount

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"Long hours, late nights. All across the state, everybody is doing this."

It's a task of historic proportions.

Michigan's county clerks are getting ready to recount nearly 4.8 million ballots... all by hand.

Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, filed for a recount in three states, including Michigan.

But an objection by President-Elect Donald Trump's staff today delays the recount and could stop it.

If the recount happens the Michigan Secretary of State says it could cost nearly $4 million.

Any recount must be complete by December 19th.

9&10's Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Blakeman looked into how this recount would put county clerks into overdrive.

It's tonight's top story.

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"All across the state, everybody is doing this," says Elaine Richardson, Wexford County Clerk.

It's a historic re-count in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

County clerks like Elaine Richardson are already getting ready.

"Clerks around the state have had at least two conference calls with the state with 83 clerks on the conference call, getting some guidance and direction from the state as to what to expect," Richardson says.

...there will be two people per precinct counting -- all volunteers.

"My goal is to try and get it done in a day," Richardson says. "Whether we will or not, I don't know."

So, I wanted to try something to show a little perspective...

Take all the paper at our station, with each sheet representing a ballot...

...No short task.

It took a lot of paper, representing examples of tens of thousands of ballots.

Each of these packages of yellow paper has 500 sheets.

This stack...it represents Wexford County's 15,370 ballots cast.

That's a lot ... but not quite as many as this stack representing Grand Traverse County's more than 50,000 ballots.

...But that's nothing compared to Wayne County.

You would need 16 of the Grand Traverse County stacks at least just to get close.

"The bigger counties, Oakland, Wayne, they are thinking it is going to take them at least a week to count through all of those ballots, hand-count," Richardson says.

So look at it this way...

Wexford County will be counting 15,370 ballots, by hand.

Luce County in the U.P., for a different example...a lot less, with 1,104.

But Wayne County will need to count through 802,195 ballots.

"People are going to be making history, I believe," Richardson says. "This is kind of like the Hanging Chads in Florida. Now we are doing a statewide recount and years from now, you'll be able to say you were involved in it."