Trump campaign files objection to Michigan hand recount; recount underway in Wisconsin

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Tabulators separate ballots into piles for each presidential candidate during a recount in Wisconsin on December 1, 2016. (Photo by Andy Manis/Getty Images)

DETROIT –President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign has filed an objection to Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s request for a hand recount of Michigan’s presidential election votes.

Earlier this week, Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers certified that Donald Trump had won the election, about three weeks after the ballots were cast. He won by just 10,704 votes, which is just 2/10 of a percentage point and marks the closest race in the state in 40 years.

The objection filed Thursday will delay or block the recount, which the state was planning to begin Friday.

The Board of State Canvassers has scheduled a meeting Friday to hear arguments. The Michigan Bureau of Elections says the recount cannot begin until two business days after the four-member, bipartisan board resolves the objection.

Trump’s attorneys say Stein, who finished fourth in Michigan, is not “aggrieved” by any alleged election fraud or mistake, that a recount couldn’t be finished on time and that her petition wasn’t properly signed. Trump says Stein is asking for an expensive, time-consuming recount “on the basis of nothing more than speculation.”

Stein has also requested recounts in Wisconsin, which began its recount on Thursday, and Pennsylvania. Stein has raised questions about the integrity of votes cast in those three states, but without presenting any proof of wrongdoing.

Trump, too, has said that “millions of people” voted illegally, but that they were cast for Hillary Clinton. He says he would otherwise have won the popular vote, which Clinton is ahead in by more than 2 million votes.

Stein said in a statement that “verifying the vote through this recount is the only way to confirm that every vote has been counted securely and accurately and is not compromised by machine or human error, or by tampering or hacking.”

On Thursday, observers representing Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump and Stein were spread out throughout Wisconsin to watch as ballots are recounted.

Trump’s Wisconsin campaign director Pete Meachum was in Madison on Thursday for the start of the recount. Meachum says the campaign had people in every major county across the state. Trump won Wisconsin by about 22,000 votes, or less than a percentage point.