I watched the recount for Roosevelt Park Precinct 1. When I had to depart, the Stein and Johnson votes had been totaled, but the recount of Clinton and Trump votes was still proceeding.
DEC 07, 2016I did Moorland Township Precinct 1 in Muskegon county and the votes matched-742 total.
My family of three were observers/challengers for Jill Stein at the Lakeland Township recount during the time slot of 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on December 7, 2016. We were informed at the front desk that it was very crowded and there would be “some standing.” Nancy Waters gave the Jill Stein observers a brief set of instructions out in the hall. She also told us that they had attempted to find a larger hall, but could not. This seemed a bit far fetched to me.
Jen Judd greeted us in the hall and gave us forms to be filled out, clipboards and a pen and some instructions. After the woman representative from the state gave the introduction and some rules and instructions (including that we weren’t allowed any of the refreshments or drinks that were supplied for the officials), we were asked to find our own table to observe. The “officials” at my table were Jeff Abram and Erma Gibson. There was also another observer/challenger named Sandee who had a Donald Trump lanyard.
Our ballot bags had a total of 961 ballots. When they were counted at our table, the total was 960 ballots. Some officials were called to our table and the woman representative from the state finally resolved the issue of the missing ballot by reading the notes received with our ballot bag. We were then cleared to recount the ballots. Once Sandee challenged a vote error. She pointed to a ballot with her pen that was a few ballots down in a pile and I challenged the fact that it was too late to challenge that ballot. She insisted she was challenging the current ballot being counted and not the one she pointed to. The ballot in question was found to be a vote for Donald Trump.
As the recount proceeded two votes for Jill Stein were erroneously being called Hillary Clinton votes and I objected and they were found to be for Jill Stein. Sandee also objected when a few votes were declared Hillary Clinton’s and they were Donald Trump votes. They were then declared for Donald Trump. The officials at our table did not seem to understand the regulations for counting the ballots as Sandee and I had been instructed. We had to remind them on a few occasions. When I took a break, I had some crackers and cheese I had brought with me, but I noticed that the only water bubbler was out of order and we were not allowed to have the drinks provided for the officials.
We had expected the Donald Trump people to be challenging all the votes, but I heard Sandee being told that they were not challenging the votes now. It was a congenial atmosphere at our table with no anger or friction. It was very difficult for me to have to stand for the entire four hours. Sandee was given a chair part way through by her husband who I believe was one of the officials.
We had many extra ballots that were examined and found to be blank in our pile of ballots. We also had many absentee ballots. After I came back from a break I found that the Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and Darrell Castle votes had been counted. I received the totals for these from Sandee, who had them recorded on her form she was filling out. The totals our table counted were 383 for Clinton, 518 for Trump, 33 for Johnson, 9 for Stein and 3 for Darrell Castle.
I observed Table 12 @ Laketon Township Hall recount location in Muskegon County, recounting Cedar Creek Township Precinct #1.
Due to the inadequately small size of the room, chairs were not allowed for observers, who had to stand for the duration — a genuine hardship for some. Several observers did ultimately place chairs for themselves at recount tables without official complaint. There were no refreshments provided for observers until the Stein campaign delivered some around noon, and the water fountain was out of order, but there was a small sink in the recount room.
Counting for the precinct I observed began around 10:00 AM and ended 1 PM. This precinct used the ES&S M100 Scanner. The count was conducted by officials Karen Vanduinen and Melanie Johnson.
To conduct the recount, the County Board procedure was first to determine recountability of each precinct. To be considered recountable, the ballot containers for a precinct needed to be properly sealed with a numbered seal matching the seal number recorded in the poll book, and the number of ballots needed to match. (During my shift at least two other precincts were deemed non-recountable, including Muskegon City Precinct 1).
After the precinct was deemed recountable, the ballots were hand-sorted into seven piles according to the candidate selected (Clinton, Trump, Johnson, Stein, Castle, Solytsik, and “Other”), and these piles were subsequently hand-counted with the exception of the “Other” pile. As far as I could observe, all counts were conducted without reference to existing machine-count results.
The Trump campaign representative issued a blanket challenge for all precincts at the beginning of the day’s counting. The Trump campaign also attempted to challenge the precinct I was observing on the ground that a handwritten tag attached to the seal included hand-corrected information. The seal itself, however, matched the number in the poll book. As far as I am aware, this challenge was not officially submitted.
For the precinct I observed, there were 1443 ballots recorded in the poll book, compared to an estimate I received from the local clerk of 1700-1800 registered voters. I did not observe the numbered list of voters. 396 of these ballots were absentee, there were 4 spoiled ballots, and 1 ballot was duplicated after having been sent electronically. I did not witness the spoiled ballots, but the final numbers for the precinct otherwise tally. I did witness the
(apparently faxed) ballot that was duplicated and verified that the duplication was performed correctly.
Hand recount I observed [net change]:
Clinton 511 [+1]
Trump 827 [+2]
In all cases, discrepancies in this precinct were attributable to machine-deemed overvotes caused by stray markings, which were able to be unanimously and unambiguously adjudicated by election officials, myself as an observer, and an observer for the Trump campaign.
I did not directly witness any activity that I would consider questionable or irregular during the course of my observation. Counting was conducted quickly, efficiently, and professionally. The inadequate size of the room and the attendant inconveniences for observers was unfortunate, but so far as I was able to observe, the recount proceeded in an orderly fashion despite these hardships.