Dead Voters

'This Has Never Happened': Deadlocked Board In Largest Michigan County Refuses To Certify Nov 3 Vote

'This Has Never Happened': Deadlocked Board In Largest
Michigan County Refuses To Certify Nov 3 Vote 1

Officials in Wayne County, Michigan – home to the city of Detroit, have refused to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election, after the Board of Canvassers have deadlocked in a 2-2 vote along party lines.

Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chair Monica Palmer (R, left) talks with Vice Chair Jonathan Kinloch before the board’s Nov. 17, 2020 meeting in Detroit (photo: Robin Buckson via The Detroit News)

Both Republican members of the board refused to move forward amid discrepancies discovered in absentee ballot poll books – issues which were previously noted in the county’s summer primary and the November 2016 election, according to Just the News.

Here’s a rundown and some analysis from Robert J. DeNult of Duke Law (via Twitter): 


Michigan has a system where panels of citizens (2 D’s, 2 R’s) have to certify vote totals. Usually 4-0 approved. This year, R’s statewide discussed not approving them and splitting to a deadlock. This appears to be part of that effort in Wayne County.

This county covers Detroit. The panel R’s said they would approve everywhere *but* Detroit, building strong case for an inherent racial discrimination claim in a future voting lawsuit. But this is extremely concerning. Counties that fail to certify send evidence to Secretary of State (a Dem) and State Board of Canvassers to certify. State Board similarly split (2 D’s, 2 R’s). In the end obstruction is unlikely to work. But it is a clear effort to deligitimize election and delay.

A winner of Wayne County (Biden, or someone else who won an election there) may want to bring a state lawsuit about this. While it’s not clear there is a proper claim to make, a judge might ask the panel to give evidence of why it is suddenly deadlocked, or order them to certify.

*  *  *

And as The Detroit News notes, the lack of certification in Wayne County could extend the deadline for a possible recount – petitions for which are required to be filed with the county clerk within six days after the county canvassing board certifies the election.

At the state level, recount petitions in the races for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House and state House can be filed with the secretary of state within 48 hours after the State Board of Canvassers certifies the election results and adjourns. 

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’s electoral votes. –The Detroit News

Committee Chairwoman Monica Palmer (R) said that the refusal to certify the results was based on she and her GOP colleague’s belief “that we do not have complete and accurate information in those poll books.”

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