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Michigan attorney general warns against recount disruptions after report from Jackson County

Beth LeBlanc, The Detroit News on

Published in Political News

Lansing, Mich. — Attorney General Dana Nessel warned recount observers and participants Wednesday against causing disruptions during a statewide recount of Proposals 2 and 3, citing disruptions and concerns at two recounts in Ingham and Jackson counties.

Nessel's office had been receiving reports of "threatening behavior and interference" at some recount locations, later clarifying that those reports related to complaints in Jackson County. The department also was contacted by the Ingham County clerk "to relay concerns."

"My department is monitoring the situation closely and will not hesitate to act should circumstances demand a response from law enforcement," Nessel said in the statement.

The Board of State Canvassers voted Monday to allow recounts of Proposal 2 votes in 47 precincts and recounts of Proposal 3 votes in about 500 precincts. Proposal 2 allows nine days of early voting, while Proposal 3 enshrines abortion rights in the state Constitution.

The recounts, requested by Jerome Jay Allen of Bloomfield Township, will not alter the outcome of either proposal because officials aren't reviewing enough votes to overturn the overwhelming majorities that passed the plans. Proposal 2 won with 60% support, or a margin of about 861,000 yes votes, and Proposal 3 passed with 57% support, or a margin of about 583,000 votes.

The $428,000 deposit Allen made to start the recount is being paid for, according to information on the Election Integrity Fund's Facebook page, with support from The America Project, which is led in part by Patrick Byrne, a former CEO of Overstock.com.

 

In Jackson County, election officials from Blackman and Henrietta townships on Wednesday recounted Proposal 3 votes at a central location with Lenawee and Calhoun counties, which were conducting similar recounts. But the process at times was interrupted by challenges from observers to rules outside the purview of the election officials, said Jennifer Crews, elections director for Jackson County.

"We had challengers there and they wanted to challenge some of the processes that were set by the Board of State Canvassers that the Bureau of Elections personnel were enforcing," Crews said.

Some of those challenges included items outside the scope of the specific recount, such as demands to see both sides of each ballot — though Prop 3 was only on the back of the ballot — and requests to review equipment, said Jake Rollow, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

When Bureau of Elections staff rejected the requests, some challengers threatened to or attempted to file police reports over the incident, Rollow said.

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