On Monday morning, a federal judge ordered a recount of presidential ballots in Michigan to begin at noon.
After a rare Sunday hearing, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued a written opinion on Monday morning. The judge ordered the state to “assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours” to immediately begin recount and complete the process by Dec. 13, according to reports from Reuters and Detroit Free Press.
Under a state law, there is a two business day waiting period to start the recount. But the federal judge said that delaying the recount will likely violate voting rights.
Jill Stein, who was the Green Party’s nominee for president in the 2012 and 2016 elections, filed a lawsuit against state election officials in federal court in Detroit late Friday. She wanted the recount to start immediately.
Stein was seeking the recount to start immediately, arguing that a two-day waiting period will result in the recount likely starting Wednesday, which is unconstitutional.
“With the perceived integrity of the presidential election as it was conducted in Michigan at stake, concerns with cost pale in comparison,” Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith wrote in his ruling that “budgetary concerns are not sufficiently significant to risk the disenfranchisement of Michigan’s nearly 5 million voters.”
He added: “The fundamental right invoked by plaintiffs – the right to vote, and to have that vote conducted fairly and counted accurately – is the bedrock of our nation,” he said in his opinion.
Goldsmirh ordered the recount to begin at noon Monday, and once started, the process “must continue until further order of this court.”
In the U.S. the Electoral College – not the popular national vote – decides the presidential race. Under the federal law, states are required to resolve disputes over the appointment of electors by Dec. 13.
Recounts is not targeted at Trump or Clinton
Aside from Michigan, Stein is also seeking recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. In those three states, Trump defeated Clinton by 10,704 votes, according to official results.
Clinton would win the presidency if recounts resulted in all three states flipping to Hillary Clinton from President-elect Donald Trump.
Stein, who finished fourth in the presidential election in Michigan, doesn’t expect the recount to change the outcome. She has said that the requests for recounts in the three states were focused on ensuring the integrity of the U.S. voting system and not on changing the result of the election.
Stein has noted that the recount campaign is not targeted at Trump or Clinton.