Will Republicans, in service of Donald Trump, attempt to delay the certification of Michigan’s election?

Michigan’s election results are supposed to be certified tomorrow, but there’s some doubt as to whether or not it’ll actually happen. It appears as if, even though every individual county has certified their election results, and no actual evidence of election fraud has been offered, the two Republicans on the State Board of Canvassers may vote against certification. The following background comes by way of today’s New York Times.

The country is coming to a crossroads on Monday. That’s the date Michigan is to certify the results of the 2020 election. Yet President Trump has chosen a state he lost by more than 150,000 votes — more than 14 times the size of his 2016 victory in Michigan — to try to subvert the election.

Having failed in the courts, President Trump is now grasping at a new lifeline: pressuring Republican election officials and legislators to ignore the reality that Joe Biden legitimately won the popular vote in their states. This tactic, now being played out in Michigan, is no doubt sending the anxiety levels of Biden supporters back to where they were before the courts had calmed these efforts by exposing how empty most of the legal claims were.

But this tactic, too, is destined to fail — though it is toxic for the country’s politics.

Michigan has an unusual system for certifying vote totals. In many states, a single actor, the governor or secretary of state, has the final authority to certify the winner of an election. But Michigan employs four-member canvassing boards, first at the county level — which is now complete — and then at the statewide level. These boards, including the statewide canvassing board that meets Monday, include two Democrats and two Republicans. The governor appoints them, with the Senate’s consent. This structure was designed to provide checks against partisan manipulation of the certification process. But the president is hoping to get the two Republicans on the board to refuse to certify, thus blocking certification…

The two Republicans on the State Board of Canvassers are Aaron Van Langevelde and Norman Shinkle, and it sounds as though Shinkle has already decided to vote against certification. According to Republican Representative Paul Mitchell, Shinkle intends to vote against certification not because any evidence of wrongdoing has been brought to his attention, but because some Republicans, like Laura Cox, the head of the Michigan GOP, want to delay Biden’t being officially named President-elect for political reasons, even if the delay will cost lives and harm the country. The following is from CNN’s Jake Tapper.

As for what Trump’s end game might be, some think that he believes there may be an opportunity to have Michigan legislators intercede on his behalf, if the election isn’t certified, and appoint electors who would cast their ballots against against Biden, even though he won the state by over 154,000 votes. [It’s worth pointing out again that this is more than 14 times the number of votes that Trump won the state by in 2016.] And that, many suspect, is why Trump called Republican leaders from the Michigan legislature to DC a few days ago. Here’s one of those legislators, Lee Chatfield, being interviewed today, and noting that, if the State Board of Canvassers have a deadlock, the legislature will appoint electors. [It looks as though Chaterfield and Representative Jim Lilly were wined and dined at the Trump Hotel in DC after their meeting with the President.]

If you read the New York Times article linked to above, you might feel a little better about what’s happening. They don’t think this desperate gambit of Trump’s has a shot. As Pod Save America’s Jon Favreau said today on Twitter, if the two Republican members of the State Board of Canvassers refuse to certify the election, the Democrats can either “seek a court order to certify, which the courts have granted in the past,” or “Whitmer can replace the Republican board members who are refusing to do their jobs.” The Republicans, of course, will claim that an audit of the vote needs to be done, and that a delay is necessary to look into the as-yet-unsubstantiated claims raised by the Trump team, but the law is pretty clear that an audit can’t be performed until the election is certified. So now I guess we just wait and see to what extent Aaron Van Langevelde and Norman Shinkle feel comfortable participating in a blatant coup attempt.

update: Today’s Detroit Free Press has an editorial by two law school professors. The title of the piece is, Refusing to Certify Legitimate Votes is a Felony. One hopes that Aaron Van Langevelde and Norman Shinkle read it before casting their votes this afternoon. Here’s how the editorial begins.

The people have spoken. They delivered Joe Biden a decisive electoral victory, including a 150,000-vote margin in Michigan. Yet Republican Party officials have asked the Michigan Board of State Canvassers to delay certification on Monday. These calls follow last week’s tumultuous Wayne County meeting where, after improper interference by a candidate, Republican appointees tried to recant their decision to certify.

This is unduly chaotic, but we shouldn’t bet against democracy. A canvassing board may not legally refuse to certify an election where no legitimate evidence undermines valid ballots. Michigan courts have repeatedly rejected wild claims of election fraud or improprieties as “incorrect and not credible.” The votes, at this point, speak for themselves. Should a member of the state canvassing board seek to misuse their authority, that obstruction won’t actually deliver a different result. First, understand what state canvassers do: certification just involves adding county tallies and declaring a winner. Michigan law provides a separate space to review the election process — a post-election audit, which does not delay or stop certification. The canvassers have one job. State courts can step in to make sure it gets done. Canvassers failing to do their duty may delay the inevitable for a moment — but not much more than that…

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15 Comments

  1. Posted November 23, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    I will be downtown at the Detroit City Clerk’s office all day if any of your Trumpanzee commenters want to come down and look through the printouts of the coty’s election results. If any of them aren’t the chickenshits I think they are, I’ll be the guy in the Biden-Harris shirt sitting at the tables with all the printouts in them. But I assume they aren’t really interested in knowing anything. They just want to go on pretending to have legitimate concerns. They’re that purely full of shit.

  2. site admin
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    From Wobblie in a different thread. I thought it belonged here too.

    I suspect the Republicans on the State Canvassing Board have about as much courage of their convictions as FF. I doubt very much the 2 Republicans are interested in serving jail time for attempting to disenfranchise Michigan. I suspect that once again the grifters never bothered to look at the details of the penalties for the crimes they are contemplating.
    Don’t be like Kyle, think before doing.

    https://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2020/11/23/michigan-canvassers-who-could-face-felony-charges/6388235002/

  3. Bob
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    As in Kyle Rittenhouse I assume? I guess. I wouldn’t lose any sleep if someone shoots these officials or the republican lunatics that went to visit Trump. How much more are we supposed to take? It doesn’t matter if they actually go through with it. The damage is done. There is a significant number of Barrlords out there who will never acknowledge Biden or follow Covid measures.

  4. Lynne
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I think it matters if they go through with it. I hope that they have more integrity than to fail to certify an election with no real evidence of fraud. I also hope there is an audit of Wayne County because some mistakes may have been made and it is worth looking into what they might have been in the interest of avoiding them in the future.

  5. Posted November 23, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    For those in interested in watching the show on the internet, there is a link embedded within the meeting notice

    https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/11232020_Mtg_Notice__Materials_708509_7.pdf

  6. Posted November 23, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    here is the youtube channel

    https://www.youtube.com/user/MichSoSOffice?fbclid=IwAR0VzUazKOv3gSKv3gexstqsdLaOrd9fL7Va0wuesViUvmRO_oIqqaULEHQ

  7. Anonymous
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m watching the feed from the State Board of Canvassers. I like Christopher Thomas. He’s doing a great job standing up to this bullshit.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    It sounds like Aaron Van Langevelde will do the right thing. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Christopher Thomas is Michigan’s former state director of elections.

  10. Bob
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    It’s insane and unacceptable that we are watching and crossing our fingers for officials to certify the will of the people. Craziness.

  11. Posted November 23, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    The Michigan results have been certified. It’s time for another Trumpanzee tantrum.

  12. Posted November 23, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Democrat Board members should have hammered Crazy Colbeck on why he hasn’t reported his claims to the AG, and why the Republican party’s lawyers haven’t filed those claims in court.

  13. Posted November 23, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m still waiting for HW to share the evidence of massive fraud he claims.

    Let’s get John Barr, Jr. appointed to the state canvassing board.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted November 24, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    So much winning! So much beating!

  15. Posted November 24, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    As the winter settles in and the pandemic gets worse, the local housing crises will also only get worse. Sign the petition demanding that Ann Arbor, U of M and Washtenaw County step up and solve this growing local crises. The housing stock exist, the money is there. They just need the will to act.

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe3t8CSsOtE4sFsMTVkcxftTBSW_6nYrIqgVHYXjEETVaRs6w/viewform?fbclid=IwAR172f1HuadXU5tKWzFA0kRZqPGNtaf0FeboZUuGyS0Kj3W2f_NuFDZq7aQ

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