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UPDATE: Mich. Says It’s Too Late for Detroit-Area County Board to Yank Election Certification

'I know they were under a lot of pressure...'

UPDATE 1:15 PM: Michigan’s largest county can’t revoke its certification of election results, officials said Thursday after two Republicans who approved Joe Biden’s local landslide 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 “hours of sustained pressure” and after getting promises that their concerns about the election would be investigated.

“We deserve better — but more importantly, the American people deserve better — than to be forced to accept an outcome achieved through intimidation, deception, and threats of violence,” they said in a statement Wednesday night. “Wayne County voters need to have full confidence in this process.”

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.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: (Headline USA) After Republicans Monica Palmer and William Hartmann initially voted against certification of vote counts for the Nov. 3rd election Tuesday, leaving the Wayne County Board of Canvassers deadlocked at 2-2 along party lines, they relented following pressure and threats and changed their votes.

Now they say they have rescinded their votes to certify. According to Fox News:

The two Republicans on Michigan’s Wayne County Board of Canvassers claimed in signed affidavits Wednesday that they were bullied into siding with Democrats and have now rescinded their votes to certify…

Both Republicans say they were called racists and subjected to threats for raising concerns about ballots that Democrats said were from predominantly black communities, Jenna Ellis, a lawyer for the Trump 2020 Campaign, told Fox News on Tuesday.

Hartmann said in the affidavit that he observed about 71% of Detroit’s 134 Absent Voter Counting Boards “were left unbalanced and many unexplained.”

He said he voiced his concerns and said if the votes did not match, there should have been some kind of explanation. Powell said she spotted the same discrepancy.

“I voted not to certify, and I still believe this vote should not be certified. Until these questions are addressed, I remain opposed to certification of the Wayne County results,” Hartmann said in his affidavit, according to JustTheNews, which was first to report on their decision to rescind.

Palmer said in her affidavit that she faced “accusations of racism” and threats to her family.

“After the vote, my Democratic colleagues chided me and Mr. Hartmann for voting not to certify,” she said, according to the affidavit obtained by Fox News. “After the vote, the public comment period began and dozens of people made personal remarks against me and Mr. Hartmann. The comments made accusations of racism and threatened me and members of my family. The public comment continued for over two hours and  I felt pressured to continue the meeting without a break.”

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 an immediate rebuke from the public and injected partisan politics into the business of an unsung panel that is supposed to confirm the will of the voters. From kitchens, bedrooms and porches, people observing the meeting by video expressed unfiltered outrage during a public comment period and put the Republicans on notice that they would awaken the masses. The criticism went on for hours. Zoom access to the meeting was forced to expand beyond 100 people.

“The unity, all the fighting that we are doing to keep our country unified, and you are part of the problem,” voter Bernita Bradley of Detroit said during her turn.

The Detroit NAACP president, the Rev. Wendell Anthony, called Palmer and Hartmann a “disgrace.” He doubled down on his denunciation Wednesday, citing a “deadly political virus attacking our election process.”

Democrat Joe Biden crushed President Trump in Wayne County, a Democratic stronghold, by a more than 2-1 margin on his way to putting him ahead on paper in Michigan by 146,000 votes, according to unofficial results.

The lead reversed Trump’s 2016 gains in the industrial Midwest and put Biden on the path to achieving the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

Norman Shinkle, one of the two Republican members of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, told The Associated Press that he had not been contacted by anyone with the Trump campaign. But he said he was bombarded with phone calls and emails from random Trump supporters urging him not to approve the election results.

“They know I’m a Republican and they say, ‘Don’t certify,’” he said.

Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox reacted swiftly after the initial Wayne County deadlock.

Earlier in the day, Democrats began to doubt whether Republicans would certify the vote.

County canvassing board Vice Chair Jonathan Kinloch, a Democrat, said the public comments “tilled the ground” and allowed him to take Palmer and Hartmann aside to urge them to reconsider their vote.

“I don’t know if Trump spoke to them. But I absolutely felt that they intended to vote the way that they voted,” Kinloch said of the initial 2-2 tie. “I know they were under a lot of pressure.”

Wayne County’s election results and those of Michigan’s other 82 counties now go to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, who then presents them to the state canvassing board, which is scheduled to meet Nov. 23. That board also has four members: two Democrats and two Republicans.

“You just don’t know” what will happen, Barnes said.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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