“Wayne Co. canvassers deadlock on certifying Nov. 3 election results”

MICHIGAN—President Donald J. Trump tweeted “Wow! Michigan just refused to certify the election results!”

The White House Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted “After presenting 234 pages of sworn affidavits raising allegatins of fraud in Wayne County, Michigan voting, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers has DECLINED to certify their portion of the Michigan vote.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 Tuesday along party lines on whether the county’s Nov. 3 election results should be certified, delaying the conclusion of Michigan’s canvassing process as at least four state and federal lawsuits seek to do the same.

The decision was lauded by Republicans but decried by Democrats. During a public comment session, the vote was described as a targeted attack on majority-Black Detroit, but that is false. The Democrats seek to convince Wayne County–that the minority voters went out to vote for Joe Biden in record numbers, that also is false.

The decision came after absentee ballot poll books at 70% of Detroit’s 134 absentee counting boards were found to be out of balance  in the 2020 Presidential Election without explanation. The mismatches varied anywhere from one to more than four votes. That is fraud.  

In August, canvassers found 72% of Detroit’s absentee voting precincts didn’t match the number of ballots cast. The imbalances between August and November are not an exact comparison since August’s canvassing was based on results from 503 precincts and November’s canvassing was based on 134 counting boards. But the number do not check out.  There are more voting ballots than voters in Wayne County.  More in-mail returned ballots than requested.

The Tuesday night deadlock proves that the Republicans on the Wayne Board want to include legal and not fraudulent votes to be certified regardless of who wins,  the Wayne County officials have failed to hold fair and equal elections. The efforts have included affidavits, lawsuits and a legislative inquiry but haven’t uncovered evidence of widespread fraud. 

“There is no reason under the sun for us to have not certified this election,” Kinloch said, but he is advocating certifying a fraudulent without justify the additional votes for Joe Biden that was not cast by any voter in Wayne County. “I believe that politics made its presence known here today, added Kinloch without commenting on more than 200 affidavits and why Wayne County should disenfranchise those voters who voted legally. 

Chairwoman Monica Palmer, a Republican, defended the decision. 

“Based on what I saw and went through in poll books in this canvass, I believe that we do not have complete and accurate information in those poll books,” she said. 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said it is common for some precincts to be out of balance by a small number of votes, especially in large turnout elections. Michigan’s general election set a record with a turnout of 5.5 million voters.

“Michigan’s Bureau of Elections stands ready to fulfill its duty to complete the canvas for Wayne County, address any clerical errors and improve the quality of the canvass overall,” Benson said in a statement. “Importantly, this is not an indication that any votes were improperly cast or tabulated.”

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers also failed to certify the 2013 mayoral primary candidates within 14 days and left the decision to the Board of State Canvassers. The Michigan Bureau of Elections reviewed the ballots, and the state board eventually certified the results and found write-in candidate Mike Duggan won the primary.

Out-of-balance boards are “absolutely” not evidence that something improper had occurred, said Chris Thomas, Michigan’s former longtime elections director who is working with Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey’s office.

Thomas said city officials will work with the Michigan Board of State Canvassers to ensure the results ultimately get certified. 

“That is not going to happen,” Thomas said about the claim Wayne County voters would be disenfranchised. 

The former state elections director said he doesn’t expect the state board, which features two Republicans and two Democrats, to deadlock. If board members deadlock, a court will likely tell them to do their jobs, Thomas said.

The Trump campaign Trump has been looking to discredit the results in Wayne County by questioning how the absentee ballots were counted at the TCF Center in Detroit. Biden defeated Trump 51%-48% in Michigan in unofficial statewide results.

 The deadlocked Wayne County canvassing vote has the potential to delay the certification of statewide election results and extend the time for a potential recount.

A county board that fails to canvass within 14 days after the election must give all of its documentation to the Secretary of State’s office and Board of State Canvassers, which then has 10 days to complete the work, canvass and certify the results, according to the board’s canvassing manual.

Wayne County must pay for the state canvassing work, according to board guidance.

When Kinloch protested that additional county tax money is being spent on the ongoing canvass, Palmer said she would be open to certifying much of Wayne County with the exception of Detroit.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the decision placed “partisan politics” above their duty to certify the election. 

 “The Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers put politics above their duty to our residents,” Tlaib tweeted Tuesday. “Suggesting that all of Wayne County can be certified, EXCEPT for Detroit, is horrifying racist and a subversion of our democracy.”

Biden won Detroit 93.5%-5% over Trump, who still received almost 6,000 more votes this year in Michigan’s largest city than in 2016. Biden won the county 68%-31% over Trump with more than 863,000 votes cast.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James, who lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Gary Peters by 1.5 percentage points or 83,100 votes, lauded the actions of the board of canvassers for confronting “inconvenient truths” about alleged irregularities during the vote counting process. 

“We will continue to investigate all issues pertaining to the election and work to ensure that the bedrock of our democracy — free and fair elections — are protected,” said James, who has refused to concede to Peters. “We must restore public trust in elections by undertaking a careful and thorough review of the process.”

The meeting room was capped at about 35 people — including staff and members of the public — and the Zoom call was unable to accommodate all participants, even after capacity was expanded from 100 to more than 300 individuals. 

A half dozen people holding signs protested outside the meeting at the Ralph Vigliotti Building demanding that the vote be certified.

 Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chair Monica Palmer, left, talks with Vice Chair Jonathan Kinloch before the board’s November 17, 2020 meeting in Detroit.

The county’s election results will move the Board of State Canvassers, which is scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon to get an update on the canvassing process and is expected to consider the question of certification of Michigan’s results on Monday.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers started its examination of vote tallies in Wayne County on Nov. 5. 

The board is tasked with overseeing Wayne County staff as they review and authenticate  documents produced during the tabulation of results on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4. The board then certifies the results by signing off on the canvassing process and announcing the final vote totals in Wayne County. 

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 and its 16 electoral votes.

The Electoral College is scheduled to meet and vote on Dec. 14.

The Wayne County board’s two Republican lawmakers were present during the absentee ballot counting process at TCF Center in Detroit. Palmer said part of the reason she observed the process was because of some of the problems identified during the canvassing of the August primary. 

President Trump tweeted a second tweet that read “Well, it’s really quite simple.  You just can’t have more votes than people!”

The Michigan Republican Chair Laura Cox praises blocking of certifying Wayne County election results: “The people of Michigan deserve to know what happened in Wayne County… This action will allow more time for us to get to the bottom of these deeply troubling irregularities, added Chair Cox.

Those votes couldn’t be recounted when Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein demanded a statewide recount following Donald Trump’s initial 13,000-vote victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in Michigan. A recount was started but stopped and nullified by the courts when Stein was ruled ineligible for a recount request because she had no chance at victory.

The results eventually were certified as a 10,704-vote victory for Trump.

Source: The Detroit News and White House Press Office

 

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