U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has been declared the winner of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes, marking the first time in nearly 3 decades that a Republican candidate has won the state, officials say. A request for a recount is expected later this week.
Trump is the presumptive winner of the November 8 presidential election, but the results in Michigan were so close that it took weeks to determine the state’s winner with certainty, even though it could not have altered the outcome of the election.
The results canvassed and certified by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers showed that Trump won the state with just 10,704 votes over opponent Hillary Clinton, or 0.2 percent, making it the closest presidential race in Michigan in more than 75 years.
The win means that Trump is now expected to have 306 votes when the Electoral College meets on December 19, well above the 270 votes required to win the White House.
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, responded to the news on Twitter, calling 306 electoral votes a “landslide” and “historic,” even though most recent presidents won with a significant larger number of votes. President Obama received 332 votes in 2012 and 365 in 2008, both of which were still far below the all-time high of 525 votes for Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Despite Monday’s announcement, Green Party candidate Jill Stein is expected to file for a recount later this week. Stein, who received only 51,463 votes in the election and is thus unable to win even with a recount, has argued that a recount is necessary to make sure that the results are accurate.
Stein has also filed for a recount in Wisconsin and, in addition to Michigan, she also plans to request a recount in Pennsylvania. The recount requests, in states that were all won by Trump with just a narrow margin, followed an online fundraiser by the Green Party that received more than $6.3 million as of Monday.
Trump heavily criticized the recount requests over the weekend, calling it a “scam” and accusing Stein of using it to “fill her coffers with money.” But the president-elect also went on to accuse fraud himself, claiming that millions had “illegally” voted for Clinton and alleging “serious voter fraud” in states where she won. He offered no evidence to substantiate his claims.
In the United States, citizens do not elect their president directly, instead voting for electors who have pledged to vote for their party’s nominee. The winner of a state is in most cases awarded all of its electoral votes, but the system means that the candidate with the most votes can still lose the election. As of Monday, Clinton led the popular vote by more than 2.2 million.
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