Bill aims to put recount costs on Stein campaign

Michigan Capitol Building, rotunda
This file photo shows the interior of rotunda dome at the state Capitol Building in Lansing, Mich.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids lawmaker has introduced legislation that would force leaders of the Michigan presidential recount effort and those requesting future statewide recounts to pick up the entire tab.

State Rep. Lisa Pothumus Lyons, R-Alto, introduced the bill Thursday, which includes a retroactive date of Jan. 1, 2016.

“The number grows every single day. It started out as $100,000 to $2 million. Now I’m gearing $4 million to $5 million,” said Lyons, referring to the estimated cost of the proposed recount.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s campaign has picked up the first $900,000 and then some, but taxpayers may have to foot the rest of the bill.

Republicans are asking, for what?

“The candidate who is asking for the recount acknowledges that the outcome will not change, especially for her,” said Lyons.

Her bill would require candidates requesting a statewide recount for an election that resulted in more than a five percent difference between the winning candidate and the petitioner of the recount to pay 100 percent of the estimated cost of the recount.

The timing of the bill comes as the recount looms and lame-duck session continues.

“This isn’t about lame duck,” said Lyons. “This is about protecting our taxpayers and this recount request certainly has spurred this.”

But it doesn’t appear the measure will have bipartisan support.

“The idea of changing the rules in the middle of the game just doesn’t make sense,” said state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, who is one the Hose Elections Committee. “I know there are some partisan concerns about one side calling for a recount. But that should be brought up before the election.”

He suggest the recount bill is a way to take the focus off another controversial piece of legislation.

Wednesday, Pothumus Lyons introduced legislation requiring voters to present an identification at their polling place. If they don’t have it, they must sign an affidavit attesting they are who they say they are when they cast their vote.

It’s a move many Democrats say will create more hurdles for some registered voters.

“I think what this really is representative Lyons is trying change the subject from her aggressive voter ID law, which is going to turn valid, eligible voters away from the polls,” said Irwin.

The recount bill is also drawing fire from the Stein campaign.

“This is another way of narrowing or taking away citizens’ rights and candidates rights to challenge the election system,” said campaign attorney Mark Brewer.

Debate on the bill is expected to begin next week.