In light of a federal judge’s ruling shortly after midnight today ordering the Michigan recount to begin by noon, county clerks are scrambling to put election workers into place for a second count of the 4.8 million votes cast in the presidential election.

Both political parties are gearing up for a contentious process that will play out in counties across the state.

In email messages to supporters sent on Wednesday and again on Sunday, the Hillary Clinton campaign put out the call for volunteers to serve as recount monitors at counting centers in 19 counties.

“In the weeks since the heartbreak of Election Day, our campaign has taken a number of steps to verify the accuracy of the vote tally in a few critical battleground states — and to this point, we’ve found no evidence that would change the outcome,” Katie Kelly of the Clinton campaign wrote in one email. “But as you might have heard, now that others have asked for a recount of the vote here in Michigan, we will participate to make sure everyone who voted for Hillary in this state has their interests represented.”

The Michigan Republican Party sent a memo to party members on Friday outlining a training schedule for all those who want to serve as GOP monitors at recount sites. Seven online training sessions for Republicans were scheduled through today and more will be added. The GOP didn’t indicate if it was targeting certain counties.

“To participate as a recount volunteer, it is mandatory to participate in a webinar training session hosted by MIGOP,” the emailed memo said. “… Again, participating in a webinar training is MANDATORY to act as a recount volunteer and it is critical to protecting our win through this recount.”

The nation has not seen something like this, with Democratic and Republican observers arguing over individual paper ballots, since the infamous recount of 2000 in Florida.

In Wisconsin, where the presidential vote recount has already begun (pictured above), news reports indicate that monitors from both parties have crowded into recount rooms established by county clerks.

In Michigan, the Board of Canvassers deadlocked on how to proceed after lawyers for President-elect Donald Trump and state Attorney General Bill Schuette filed suit to halt the recount process.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein filed her recount request Wednesday, along with a check for $973,250 to cover the mandated fees to recount ballots in the state’s 6,300 precincts. Stein said she is not claiming that she was denied  a consequential number of votes, but she has raised the issue of a significant “undervote.”

The undervote on 85,000 ballots indicates that no choice for president was marked on those ballots. Stein and her chief legal counsel in Michigan, former state Democratic Party chairman Mark Brewer, argue that the ovals on those ballots may have been sufficiently filled in by voters the but the optical scan counting machines may have failed to detect it.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said Wednesday the recount will cost more than $5 million, most of it to be borne by Michigan taxpayers. Johnson’s elections chief, Chris Thomas, said he doubts the recount can be finished by the Dec. 13 deadline.


Photo: WBAY-TV Wisconsin screenshot

This post was updated on Dec. 5, 2016.