After introductory discussion and then hours of comments from the public and passionate county clerks, Michagan’s four-member Board of State Canvassers on Monday voted 3-1 to confirm the President-elect’s nearly 155,000-vote victory in the Great Lakes State in the November 3 election. With truly one job to do mandatorily under Michigan law, the Lansing-based board is evenly split between the Republicans and Democrats. Having previously indicated he would vote against certification, Republican Norm Shinkle actually abstained when vote came to shove.
In a deeply divided America that voted during the punishing Covid-19 crisis, Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election on November 7. Way ahead in the popular vote nationwide, Biden now has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, according to the Associated Press.
Encompassing ballots from all of Michigan’s 83 counties, many of which were mail-in or absentee due to the pandemic, the Michigan certification cements who will be the winner of the state’s 16 electoral votes when they are cast December 14. Other state results, like the reelection of Democrat Gary Peters to the U.S. Senate, were also made official by today’s certification.
Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, long a thorn in Trump’s paw, reacted fairly quickly with a statement of her own after the vote:
In short, one final Hail Mary for the former Celebrity Apprentice host’s attempts to overturn his election loss has sputtered to an unsuccessful end.
As more and more lawsuits by the Trump reelection campaign are rejected by the courts (some of which have literally laughed at the filings), state certification has become the bulk of the ballgame. The Trump team could still ask for an additional audit under Michigan law now that certification has occurred. Yet, in the spotlight of the on-the-ground battle witnessed today, the limited authority held by Board of Canvassers means they lack the legal power to seek an audit of the election votes or pursue a review of those results.
Not that facts have ever proven a roadblock to Trump’s worldview.
Following Trump calling key Michigan GOP lawmakers to the White House last week, the Michigan Republican Party and Republican National Committee sent a letter to the board seeking an audit of the result out of Wayne County, MI, with contains the city of Detroit, and a 14-day delay in certification. With no proof of alleged voter fraud in Michigan or any state, Republican Shinkle had already said he will vote against certification. Which he did, kind of, in abstaining. Shinkle had also called for state legislative probes into elections in Michigan.
“I find this shocking and disgusting,” said Ingham County clerk Barb Byrum of Shinkle’s declaration. In her stint addressing the board virtually, Byrum also said that democracy was under threat as Trump tried to get officials to “bend to his will” in a move to invalidate the election.
Aaron Van Langevelde, Shinkle’s fellow GOP member of the board, indicated early in the long process Monday that he was leaning towards certification. However, the attorney and advisor for the Michigan House Republican Caucus put forth a motion to listen to comments from the public and county officials – which drew the hearing out across the first day. Before the vote took place, Van Langevelde proclaimed he “supported the motion,” and in fact, vote for the certification.
Unsurprisingly, he was joined by Democrats Jeannette Bradshaw and Julie Matuzak.
Having said that, Michigan is not the only state on the map Trump is trying to influence – though his record is proving sad at best. Once solid Republican Georgia certified Biden’s landmark win in the Peach State last week and, even with renewed GOP legal tactics, Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes are expected to follow suit in the next day or so. Nevada’s certification is coming tomorrow, with Arizona and Wisconsin both to follow soon afterwards. All three states and their electoral votes had been called for Biden.
On a day when President-elect Biden revealed his foreign policy and national security team, there were more Covid-19 vaccine developments and CDC concerns over the millions of people traveling for Thanksgiving, only CNN centered on the Lake State certification this morning. The Board of State Canvassers meeting was also carried live online, with some remote participation to ensure social distancing protocols.
MSNBC and Fox News Channel, which had a minor technical snafu at one point, swooped in to address the vote as the meeting heard comments from over 500 members of the public in the digital queue. None of the cable newswers actually covered the vote when it happened.
Before a motion for the vote was put forth at around 1:20 p.m. PT, board chair Jeannette Bradshaw announced that each member of the public would be given 90 seconds to speak – which many were. Theboard went back to the remaining 460 public comments after the certification vote today, one of which included a reference to the acclaimed documentary Slay the Dragon.
A forgone conclusion except for Trump’s “ridiculous .and losing legal efforts,” as CNN’s Brianna Keller said Monday, the election result has seen the Republican Party hold a pretty solid Red wall for the incumbent. Biden and his team are still being denied official transition status and security briefings by the outgoing administration, something the likes of Sen. Mitt Romney have lamented publicly.
In one of the worst kept secrets in Washington DC., privately a number of highly placed Republicans have split from Trump – as Carl Bernstein unveiled this morning:
All of which may open a new front for Trump to fight on.