The Detroit Free Press, on November 29, 2016, ran a story about the cost of the recount. In it various state officials express concern over the possible cost to taxpayers. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, in this story, estimated the cost as $1.8 million, only half of which would be covered by the filing fee Jill Stein paid. She has since gone on to inflate that figure to $4 million.
A variety of public figures have thrown out their personal wild guesses of the cost; $4 million, $8 million, $12 million, who knows? Since none of them will be held responsible for the accuracy of their figure, any number they pull out of their back pocket is apparently good.
Two examples will suffice to show the range of inflated figures. From a USA Today article, Dec. 5, 2016: “Attorneys for the Board of State Canvassers and Trump argued Stein waited too long to request the recount, which would cost taxpayers too much money — possibly more than $4 million above the $973,250 filing fee Stein was required to pay.” From an MLive article, December 6, 2016: “Eric Doster, an attorney for the state party, said the cost could reach up to $12 million.”
The common thread here is that there are a lot of legislators, commentators and other objectors to the recount expressing great concern for expenses unfairly laid on the taxpayers of Michigan. Strangely, this same concern is not evident when the subject is primary elections in Michigan.
On this subject, the platform of the Green Party of Michigan says, “GPMI has lots of ideas on election reform and democratic government. For example, taxpayer-funded primary elections should be eliminated. They cost us all millions, and marginalize alternative political parties. Let each party set up and pay for the process by which it selects candidates. The people can judge if their methods are fair and democratic.”
Whenever Bill Schutte and company bring up their fake concern for how much the recount will cost Michigan taxpayers, we can ask if, in order to avoid a much greater burden on taxpayers, they would be willing to eliminate primary elections altogether. In 2016, Michigan held TWO primary elections – one for President and one for down-ballot offices. Each one of these elections cost more than the recount will cost. They benefit only the Republican and Democratic parties, which have their general election candidates selected at public expense.
If the Republican Governor, Senate and House are so concerned with saving taxpayer money, let them eliminate taxpayer-funded primaries.