A federal judge has ordered Michigan election officials to begin a massive hand recount of 4.8 million ballots cast in the presidential election at noon Monday.
U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued a ruling just after midnight Monday in favor of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who sought to let election officials bypass a two-business-day waiting period that would have delayed start of the recount until Wednesday morning.
Goldsmith’s order said the recount “shall commence and must continue until further order of this court.”
“Defendants shall instruct all governmental units participating in the recount to assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours to assure that the recount is completed in time to comply with the ‘safe harbor’ provision,” of federal election law, Goldsmith wrote.
The deadline to finalize the vote total for the Electoral College is Dec. 13 and federal election law requires a period of “safe harbor” for presidential electors before the presidency is finalized on Dec. 19.
The manual recount process was scheduled to begin Wednesday as specified by state law, and in a rare Sunday hearing in federal court, Goldsmith had questioned the harm posed by waiting.