The two Republicans on Wayne County, Michigan’s Board of Canvassers signed affidavits Wednesday night saying they want to take back their votes certifying the election results in the Democratic county, where Detroit is located, marking the latest flip-flop in the GOP members’ votes after they initially blocked certification Tuesday night before relenting, and coming as the Trump campaign attempts to block results from being certified in battleground states.
Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the two Republicans on Wayne County’s four-person canvassing board, initially refused to certify the county’s results Tuesday due to imbalances regarding the poll books for mail-in votes, resulting in a deadlocked 2-2 vote.
The members then relented and voted to certify the results hours later amid a public outcry over their decision, but said they wanted the state to audit the county’s results.
The Republicans’ initial votes not to certify the results earned praise from the Trump campaign—and reportedly a call from President Donald Trump himself, according to the Associated Press—and Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel blamed the members’ ultimate decision to yield and certify the results on “mob rule.”
Palmer and Hartmann said Wednesday night they now regret their votes and want to change them to block certification, alleging Democrats unfairly pressured them to vote for certification and then broke their promise for a state audit, after Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson suggested the state may not conduct an audit of the county’s results as they had wanted.
Democrat Jonathan Kinloch, the vice president of the canvassing board, told the Washington Post the certification has already been sent to the state and cannot now be reversed, and said the Republican members knew their demand for an audit—which the board has not even submitted an official request for yet—was not binding when they voted.
Kinloch told the New York Times the board also specifically took an additional vote Tuesday “to waive any reconsideration as it relates to bringing this matter back up,” further ensuring the Republicans cannot take back their votes to certify.
In an interview with the Post, Palmer acknowledged that if the state were to audit the county’s results, fixing the apparent imbalances would not do enough to change President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state. “We always knew that the margin of victory was such that it was not going to change the result,” Palmer said.
“Do they understand how they are making us look as a body?” Kinloch told the Post. “We have such an amazing and important role in the democratic process, and they’re turning it on its head.”
The imbalances that the Republicans pointed to as justification for blocking the election certification are common administrative errors that are not concerning or signs of impropriety, election experts told the Detroit Free Press. Similar imbalances were also observed in several other Michigan counties, Bridge Michigan reports, but those counties’ bipartisan boards certified the election results without controversy.
The Wayne County Republicans’ decision to backtrack on their certification votes comes as the Trump campaign reportedly focuses their post-election strategy to challenge Biden’s win on attempting to block battleground states from certifying their election results, the Post reports. With the campaign’s legal strategy aimed at challenging mail-in ballots and voting rules largely failing in court, the campaign is reportedly attempting a “play for delay” strategy in a long-shot bid to have GOP legislators overturn the will of the voters by appointing their own electors—or at least sow further public distrust in Biden’s win. The electors strategy, which experts is likely to fail and has already been shot down by some of the key GOP state legislators who would need to participate, began to take shape Wednesday. The Trump campaign requested a recount in several Wisconsin counties and filed an amended complaint in their central lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s results, which specifically asks the court to declare Pennsylvania’s election results “defective” and “[provide] for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to choose Pennsylvania’s electors.”
What persuaded the GOP members of Wayne County Board of Canvassers to reverse course (Detroit Free Press)
Trump targets vote certification in late bid to block Biden (Associated Press)
Source: Forbes – Business