Michigan’s largest county on Tuesday night unanimously voted to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election, granting Democrat Joe Biden victory over President Donald Trump.
The certification marked an abrupt change of course by the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, which was initially deadlocked 2-2 along party lines. After facing hours of backlash from spectators and a long public comment session, the two Republican canvassers who initially voted against certifying the election changed their mind in an abrupt about-face. The board of canvassers also called on Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to conduct a “comprehensive audit” of precincts with unexplained out-of-balance tallies.
Benson addressed the concerns about out-of-balance tallies saying in a statement, “It is common for some precincts in Michigan and across the country to be out of balance by a small number of votes, especially when turnout is high. Importantly, this is not an indication that any votes were improperly cast or counted.”
The board’s chairwoman, Republican Monica Palmer, initially defended the decision to block certification.
"Based on what I saw and went through in poll books in this canvass, I believe that we do not have complete and accurate information in those poll books," she said.
Meanwhile, Board Vice Chairman Jonathan Kinloch, one of the two Democrats, said the attempt by the two Republican members to stop certification was “reckless and irresponsible.”
Certification of the election results in each of Michigan’s 83 counties is needed for statewide certification by the Michigan board of state canvassers.
The Trump campaign has attempted to discredit the results of Wayne County by raising questions about how absentee votes ballots were counted at a Detroit convention center.
However, at least four lawsuits filed by the president have gained little traction as judges have said affidavits and witnesses presented by the campaign were refuted or failed to present corroborating evidence of widespread voter fraud. The litigation attempted to halt canvassing in Wayne County following claims by Trump allies of voter fraud, but judges found no evidence and refused to stop the canvassing process. The Trump campaign has filed at least six lawsuits in Michigan.
Republicans are attempting to stop formal certification of the election results in other states, including Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Federal and state officials from both parties have declared the presidential election safe and secure.
But the Trump campaign vows to continue challenging the election results in court, with the president claiming he is the true winner of the 2020 election, and that it was also “stolen” from him.
Each state will certify its election results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14 to codify results.