Michigan board votes to certify election results

Midwest

In this Nov. 17, 2020, file photo, Wayne County Board of Canvassers Republican chairperson Monica Palmer, left, and Democrat vice chair Jonathan Kinloch discuss a motion to certify the election during a board meeting in Detroit. (Robin Buckson/Detroit News via AP, File)

LANSING, Mich. (NewsNation Now) — The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Monday voted to certify the results of the presidential election that showed Democrat Joe Biden winning the state.

The Board of State Canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one abstention. Allies of Trump and losing GOP Senate candidate John James had urged the panel to delay voting for two weeks to audit votes in heavily Democratic Wayne County, home to Detroit.

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Under Michigan law, Biden claims all 16 electoral votes. Biden won by 2.8 percentage points — a larger margin than in other states where Trump is contesting the results like Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

“The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said in a statement, saying it’s “time to put this election behind us.”

The Trump legal team dismissed the certification as “simply a procedural step” and insisted it would fight on.

“Certification by state officials is simply a procedural step. We are going to continue combatting election fraud around the country as we fight to count all the legal votes. Americans must be assured that the final results are fair and legitimate.”

Jenna Ellis, Trump 2020 senior legal advisor

Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers certified the results despite calls by Trump and allies to the GOP members to block the vote to allow for an audit of ballots in Wayne County, where Trump has claimed without evidence that he was the victim of fraud. Biden led the president by more than 330,000 votes there.

Staff for the state elections bureau said that claimed irregularities, even if verified, would not significantly affect the outcome.

“The board’s duty today is very clear,” said Aaron Van Langevelde, the Republican vice chair. “We have a duty to certify this election based on these returns. That is very clear. We are limited to these returns. I’m not going to argue that we’re not.”

The Michigan Democratic Party said the total number of Detroit votes implicated by imbalanced precincts — where the number of ballots does not equal the number of names on the pollbook — is at most 450, or “0.029% of the margin” separating Biden from Trump.

Lavorna Barnes, the state Democratic Party chair, wrote to the board on Sunday, urging them to certify the results.

“The certification process must not be manipulated to serve as some sort of retroactive referendum on the expressed will of the voters. That is simply not how democracy works,” Barnes said.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed that there were no serious irregularities.

The Associated Press, Reuters and NewsNation affiliate WOOD contributed to this report.

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