State: Too Late for Detroit-area County to Contest Election Results

The phrase “Count Every Vote” is projected on a giant screen organized by an advocacy group in front of the State Capitol while election results in several states have yet to be finalized, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Michigan’s largest county can’t revoke its certification of election results, officials said Thursday after two Republicans who approved Joe Biden’s local win wanted to revert to their initial stance of refusing to bless the vote.

Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the two Republican canvassers in Wayne County, said they only voted to certify the results after getting promises that their concerns about the election would be investigated.

“Wayne County voters need to have full confidence in this process,” they said in a statement Wednesday night.

State officials said the certification of the Detroit-area vote will stand.

“There is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote. Their job is done, and the next step in the process is for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify,” said Tracy Wimmer, a spokeswoman for the Michigan secretary of state.

The four-member state board, which is expected to meet Monday, is split with two Democrats and two Republicans — the same makeup as the Wayne County board.

President Donald Trump’s campaign withdrew a federal lawsuit challenging the Detroit-area results, citing the pair’s statement.

Palmer and Hartmann initially voted against certification Tuesday, leaving the Wayne County Board of Canvassers deadlocked at 2-2 along party lines. Palmer complained that certain Detroit precincts were out of balance, meaning that absentee ballot books did not match the number of ballots cast.

The GOP move drew a rebuke from the public and state officials for injecting politics into the business of an unsung panel that is supposed to confirm the will of the voters.

Biden defeated Trump in Wayne County by a more than 2-1 margin on his way to winning Michigan by 146,000 votes, according to unofficial results. His victory reversed Trump’s 2016 gains in the industrial Midwest and put the Democrat on the path to achieving the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

The county canvassers later voted again and certified the results, 4-0. Then, on Wednesday, Palmer and Hartmann signed affidavits saying they believe the vote should not be certified. On Thursday, they reconsidered.

There has been no evidence of widespread voting fraud in Michigan. Federal and state officials from both parties have declared the 2020 election safe and secure.