Calhoun County Clerk says election recount is ‘unprecedented’

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MARSHALL, Mich. — About 80 volunteers showed up at the United Methodist Church Wednesday morning, ready to recount thousands of ballots by hand. The Calhoun County recount team said they were ready to go by 9 a.m. However they were abruptly stopped.

“We had a bit of a delay this morning,” said recount team member Kimberly Hinkley about a Donald Trump supporter who met them at the church doors.

She said the man told them that he was an attorney from the area who had the power to stop them on-site. The team immediately called the state.

“After some discussions with the state, they decided we can go ahead,” said Hinkley during an interview at the church. “Any other challenges will be taken care of by the county board of canvassers at the end of the recount session.”

After the Trump supporter left, the volunteers got to work, Hinkley said. They sat in small groups at each of the 20 tables in the main hall and rifled through 60,000 ballots.

“First we sort the ballots,” said Calhoun County Clerk Anne E. Norlander. “Then we count and they go into the pile depending upon who is voted for or if someone has voted for a candidate that wasn’t on the ballot, that goes into the ‘other’ pile.”

Clerk Norlander said because of the large number of ballots they’re scheduled to count through Saturday. She called the recount unprecedented and believes people chose to participate because of its historical meaning.

“I think a lot of people are very curious about the process,” said Clerk Norlander about why the volunteers came. “I think a lot of people here are very angry at what’s gone on and why a candidate with one percent of the vote has the luxury of paying $125 a precinct when this is costing the taxpayers of Michigan, probably amounts to the millions.”

Clerk Norlander said she and her staff are paying close attention to the recount controversy and what’s going on in Lansing. A court ruling could stop the recount at any time.

“It’s been ruled that she did not have a grievance to file,” said Clerk Norlander about Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party leader who’s spearheading the recount.  “It could go up to the federal court.”

Since this morning’s mishap, the recount has been going smoothly said Clerk Norlander. She’s grateful for each volunteer’s hardwork and feels confident that results will be spotless on Saturday.

“We in Calhoun County do not certify any election until each vote has been accounted for,” said Clerk Norlander. “That gives me great faith that we will have a very, very clean recount.”

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