Since 2020 wouldn't be complete without officials flip-flopping during major elections, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers reversed has unanimously voted to certify the results of the November 3 election, hours after two Republicans on the board refused to do so.
Tonight's big headline is no longer true: the vote has now been certified in Wayne County, which includes Detroit. https://t.co/AIckwFsmRD— Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck) November 18, 2020
The board has called on Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to conduct an audit of irregularities in Wayne County.
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Officials in Wayne County, Michigan - home to the city of Detroit, have refused to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election, after the Board of Canvassers have deadlocked in a 2-2 vote along party lines.
Both Republican members of the board refused to move forward amid discrepancies discovered in absentee ballot poll books - issues which were previously noted in the county's summer primary and the November 2016 election, according to Just the News.
🚨🚨BREAKING: This evening, the county board of canvassers in Wayne County, MI refused to certify the election results. If the state board follows suit, the Republican state legislator will select the electors. Huge win for @realDonaldTrump— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) November 17, 2020
During the meeting, Democrat member Jonathan Kinloch objected, saying "I smell politics at the core of this action," adding "I smell the games."
“I smell politics at the core of this action,” says Democrat member Kinloch of the Republicans on 4-member Wayne County Board of Canvassers that just deadlocked 2-2 on certifying election results in Michigan’s largest county, which hasn’t happened in memory. “I smell the games.” pic.twitter.com/7tAK9prwut— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) November 17, 2020
According to Michigan GOP Chair Laura Cox, "enough evidence of irregularities and potential voter fraud was uncovered" during the election to trigger the deadlock.
I am proud that, due to efforts of the @migop and the RNC under the leadership of @GOPChairwoman Ronna McDaniel, enough evidence of irregularities and potential voter fraud was uncovered resulting in the Wayne County Board of Canvassers refusing to certify their election results. https://t.co/n8RmYa0OzM— Laura Cox (@MIGOPChair) November 17, 2020
Here's a rundown and some analysis from Robert J. DeNult of Duke Law (via Twitter):
Alarmed that Michigan county canvassers—who usually certify vote totals in bipartisan, unified fashion—are deadlocking on certification because of false fraud claims. This is not normal and has never happened in history.— Robert J. DeNault (@robertjdenault) November 17, 2020
Michigan has a system where panels of citizens (2 D’s, 2 R’s) have to certify vote totals. Usually 4-0 approved. This year, R’s statewide discussed not approving them and splitting to a deadlock. This appears to be part of that effort in Wayne County.
This county covers Detroit. The panel R’s said they would approve everywhere *but* Detroit, building strong case for an inherent racial discrimination claim in a future voting lawsuit. But this is extremely concerning. Counties that fail to certify send evidence to Secretary of State (a Dem) and State Board of Canvassers to certify. State Board similarly split (2 D’s, 2 R’s). In the end obstruction is unlikely to work. But it is a clear effort to deligitimize election and delay.
A winner of Wayne County (Biden, or someone else who won an election there) may want to bring a state lawsuit about this. While it’s not clear there is a proper claim to make, a judge might ask the panel to give evidence of why it is suddenly deadlocked, or order them to certify.
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And as The Detroit News notes, the lack of certification in Wayne County could extend the deadline for a possible recount - petitions for which are required to be filed with the county clerk within six days after the county canvassing board certifies the election.
At the state level, recount petitions in the races for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House and state House can be filed with the secretary of state within 48 hours after the State Board of Canvassers certifies the election results and adjourns.
The U.S. Constitution requests the states to certify their results by Dec. 8, which is known as the “safe harbor” day. Any state that doesn’t do so potentially invites Congress to get involved in resolving a dispute about which candidate won the state’s electoral votes. -The Detroit News
Committee Chairwoman Monica Palmer (R) said that the refusal to certify the results was based on she and her GOP colleague's belief "that we do not have complete and accurate information in those poll books."
The decision will move to the State Board of Canvassers next, which just tweeted that it has just moved a Wednesday meeting from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Board of State Canvassers meeting has been rescheduled to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, and will be held remotely. Agenda and a link to the meeting: https://t.co/It2K0gPQ6L— Michigan Department of State (@MichSoS) November 18, 2020