More transparency may be in order for Michigan’s tight recount budget

The Financial Accountability Office has been told to determine whether platforms in the $250 million-plus range are needed to service potentially 1.2 million ballots, according to a report from the Center for Responsive Politics.

If the state does not move in that direction, at least some of the money would have to be covered by continuing the plan to use poll workers in the future.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Democratic member of the state legislature has warned that money spent in the past four weeks would make any anticipated timeline for closing the recount years overdue.

In turn, some members of the Republican-controlled state Legislature have pushed back on the notion that efforts to increase transparency should be an end-all in an open and accessible election system, while the other members have worried about the impact of a partial recount on Democratic-leaning groups that want to be able to register voters.

PBO Executive Director Brian Tierney told the Center for Responsive Politics in November that his office would continue to collect information and analyze it.

“We will do the necessary math and figure out what changes or eliminates the possibility of a full recount, or how much money we would need to raise and to invest in an ad hoc lottery if requested,” he said at the time.

PBO staff are estimating that the cost of a potential full recount would be around $122 million, or an average of more than $8.50 per eligible voter.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Michigan lawmakers in that state estimated that the cost of a statewide recount would be more than $80 million. The last statewide recount was in 2008, when Democrats requested a recount in 72 of Michigan’s 83 counties. All ended up being completed by the December 15 deadline.

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