Michigan Board of Canvassers certify Biden’s 154,000-vote win

Republicans sought delay for further investigation of Wayne County results
From left: Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump each speak early Nov. 4,...
From left: Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump each speak early Nov. 4, 2020, as vote counting continues.(WRDW)
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 1:11 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan Board of Canvassers to certify results of the Nov. 3 general election on Monday, including Democrat Joe Biden’s win.

The four-member board voted 3-0 to certify the results with Republican member Norman Shinkle abstaining from the vote.

The certified results show Biden beat President Donald Trump by 154,000 votes based on totals reported by all 83 counties in Michigan. Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris win Michigan’s 16 electoral votes if the vote is certified.

Democrat U.S. Sen. Gary Peters also beat Republican challenger John James by more than 86,000 votes based on unofficial totals.

A record of more than 5.5 million ballots were cast in Michigan for the Nov. 3 election.

State Board of Canvassers Meet to Certify Vote

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The Board of Canvassers certification process typically happens without much fanfare or controversy, but Republicans called for a delay of Monday’s action. More than 500 people registered to make public comments during the meeting.

Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox called on the Board of Canvassers to delay certifying the election until questions about Wayne County’s vote totals are resolved. Charles Spies, who said he represents James’ Senate campaign, pointed to a number of precincts in Wayne County where the numbers don’t appear accurate.

Monica Palmer, a Wayne County Board of Canvassers member, said some of the absentee counting boards showed different figures for the number of ballots cast compared to the number of ballots run through the tabulators.

Biden won the vote in Wayne County by more than 330,000.

Jonathan Brater, the elections director for the Michigan Department of State, said issues reported after the elections in Wayne and other counties boil down to basic human errors that are common during most elections around the state. However, he said the Bureau of Elections has no evidence of widespread voting fraud.

Christopher Thomas, a former state elections director, said the Board of Canvassers lacks the authority to investigate fraud allegations by itself before certifying election results. He said the board exists only to approve the results reported by county clerks and officially declare winners.

Board of Canvassers member Aaron Van Langevelde said state law does not allow board members to request an audit, delay certification or review the election results reported by Michigan’s 83 counties.

“There’s nothing in the law that gives me the authority to request an audit,” he said.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said each of the 83 county canvassing boards in Michigan are in charge of counting ballots and reporting totals. The state Board of Canvassers is required to certify the results reported by the counties and has no authority to question county results, she said.

However, Byrum pointed out that auditing and recounting votes statewide cannot begin until the results are certified under Michigan law.

Shinkle said he received threats toward him and his family regarding his vote for certification.

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