Michigan certifies Biden win; a setback for Trump challenge

Published on Monday, 23 November 2020 19:46
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan election officials on Monday certified Democrat Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state, another setback for President Donald Trump in his futile effort to undermine the results of the Nov. 3 election through baseless legal challenges and unsupported claims of fraud.

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 for two weeks to audit votes in heavily Democratic Wayne County, home to Detroit.

Biden crushed the president by more than 330,000 votes in the county. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters' margin there was 332,000.

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

Some Trump allies had expressed hope that state lawmakers could intervene in selecting Republican electors in states that do not certify. That longshot, legally suspect bid is no longer possible in Michigan.

“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," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said in a statement, saying it is “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.

But the president's efforts to stave off the inevitable - formal recognition of his defeat - is facing increasingly stiff resistance from the courts and fellow Republicans with just three weeks until the Electoral College meets to certify Biden’s victory. Time and again, Trump’s challenges and allegations of widespread conspiracy and fraud have been met with rejection as states move forward with confirming their results.

“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.”

Mary Ellen Gurewitz, an attorney for the state Democratic Party, told the canvassers that attacks on the election results “are part of a racist campaign, directed by soon-to-be former President Trump, to disparage the cities in this country with large Black populations, including Detroit, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.”

Trump has tried to defy the results of the election through the courts, but having found no luck there, moved on to personally trying to influence local lawmakers to convince them to ignore the popular vote and appoint Republican electors, a strategy that would send Americans into the streets in protest, election law experts have said. Two GOP canvassers in Wayne County who certified the results unsuccessfully tried to reverse course last week after being called by Trump.

“It sometimes feels like officials are attempting to tear up my ballot right in front of me by stalling and recounting until they find a way to change the results,” said Wendy Gronbeck, a resident of Douglas. “I’ve been a voter for over 50 years, and I’ve never had to think about whether canvassers will certify an election.”

Trump met with top Michigan GOP legislators at the White House on Friday and tweeted over the weekend: “We will show massive and unprecedented fraud!”



Posted in New Britain Herald, Nation-World on Monday, 23 November 2020 19:46. Updated: Monday, 23 November 2020 19:49.