A federal judge early Monday morning ordered a recount of Michigan's presidential ballots to begin at noon on Monday, and for the state to "assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours" to complete the recount by a Dec. 13 federal deadline.
Lawyers for Green Party candidate Jill Stein urged the action in an emergency request, and U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith held a rare Sunday hearing in federal court. It lasted three hours, and Goldsmith issued a written opinion just after midnight on Monday morning.
Goldsmith said a state law requiring a two business day waiting period to start the recount likely violates voting rights. Stein has shown "a credible threat that the recount, if delayed, would not be completed" by Dec. 13 -- the federal "safe harbor" deadline to guarantee Michigan's electoral votes are counted when the electoral college meets on Dec. 19.
"With the perceived integrity of the presidential election as it was conducted in Michigan at stake, concerns with cost pale in comparison," Goldsmith said in his opinion.
In ordering the recount to begin at noon Monday, rather than Wednesday morning under the two-day waiting period the state planned to observe, Goldsmith ordered the recount, once started, "must continue until further order of this court."
Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, who attended Sunday's court hearing, said in a release this morning she is "outraged that Jill Stein is trying to use the courts to change the outcome of the Michigan election" after "all votes were counted and certified by the Board of Canvassers."
She said "this recount is an incredible waste of Michigan taxpayers' money," and "we will vigorously pursue any and all options available to us to overturn this ruling and to end this recount."
Any appeal would go to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.