Michigan board votes to certify votes from 2020 election

By UPI Staff & Jean Lotus
Balloons and signs fill the fence between Black Lives Matter Plaza and Lafayette Park near the White House on Monday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Government officials in Michigan voted 3-0 Monday afternoon to certify the results of the 2020 election in the state, which President-elect Joe Biden won by about 150,000 votes.

Michigan's State Board of Canvassers certified the results of the state's 83 counties, which had all previously certified their results.


The board, consisting of two Democrats and two Republicans voted unanimously, with one Republican abstaining.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will now notify the U.S. secretary of state of the state electors aligning with the state's popular vote for Joe Biden. The electors will cast Michigan's 16 votes in the Electoral College next month in the state capital Lansing.

The board heard public comments for several hours from more than 500 people who signed up on Monday.

State lawmaker Mari Manoogian told the panel, "we know the eyes of the world are on the state of Michigan this afternoon."


Ingram County Clerk Barb Byrum said the board had a duty to stand up for the 5.1 million voters who cast ballots in Michigan.

"Doing anything other than certifying the election would be tantamount to the wholesale disenfranchisement of millions of voters across the state," Byrum said.

During the hearing, former board members Christopher Thomas and Jeff Timmers told the board Monday they did not have an option by law not to certify if county canvasses were certified without controversy.

Charles Spies, attorney for failed two-time U.S. Senate candidate John James (R), argued that the board could adjourn to wait for legal challenges and audits for irregularities to be resolved before certifying.

But the board's Vice Chairman Aaron Van Langevelde, a Republican, said the law did not allow the board to investigate anything or delay certifying the vote.

"Our duty is very simple and it's a duty," Van Langevelde said. "The law basically says we have a legal duty -- a clear legal duty to canvas returns ... We can't create out of thin air an adjournment. We don't have that authority to delay the certification."

Van Langevelde voted to certify the results with fellow Republican Norm Shinkle abstaining.


Patrick Colbeck, former Republican member of the Michigan State Senate, told the panel that he had questions about the "chain of custody" of voting results running through Dominion Voting Systems software. Colbeck made these allegations in an affidavit submitted by President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani alleging election irregularities. That case was thrown out of court by a Wayne County judge after allegations were rebutted by Detroit public officials. A Michigan Court of Appeals denied an appeal.

Last week, Republicans responsible for certifying the votes in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, caused controversy when they initially voted to block certification. Election officials believe there are a small number of ballot irregularities for issues such as sending in an absentee voting envelope without the ballot inside.

Monica Palmer, a Republican canvass board member in Wayne County, told the state board Monday that she agreed to certify the vote totals only if an audit of Wayne County took place, but then realized that an audit would happen after certification.

"In the heat of the moment I should have realized that the law does not allow for that audit to happen before your certification," Palmer said, adding that she had received threats to her family. She also received a phone call from President Donald Trump, which she did not mention during Monday's hearing.


Republican state lawmakers visited President Donald Trump at the White House last week, but they departed acknowledging Biden's win and saying Trump provided no evidence of voter fraud in Michigan.

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