US President-elect Joe Biden.(Reuters)
US President-elect Joe Biden.(Reuters)

Michigan certifies Joe Biden as winner after Donald Trump’s bid to toss results

The vote means that only a possible Republican request for a recount stands in the way of assuring that Biden will win the Wolverine State and its 16 electoral votes. Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers didn’t ask for a recount after certifying the results.
By Bloomberg | Posted by Ayshee Bhaduri
UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2020 04:27 AM IST

Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers voted to certify the state’s election results, practically ensuring former Vice President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the state.

The vote means that only a possible Republican request for a recount stands in the way of assuring that Biden will win the Wolverine State and its 16 electoral votes. The board didn’t ask for a recount after certifying the results.

One of the board’s two Republican canvassers, Aaron Van Langevelde, sided with Democrats to certify the vote 3-0, while Norm Shinkle, the other Republican member, abstained and called on the Michigan legislature to conduct a full audit of the result.

Van Langevelde said that he believes that any irregularities should be investigated, but added that the Board of Canvassers is not the entity to do that. “We have a clear legal duty to certify the results of the election as shown by the returns that were given to us,” he said.

The Grand Old Party(GOP) canvassers can request an audit or petition for a recount, but it would be tough to see either overturning Biden’s 150,000-vote margin of victory.

Also Read| US Election 2020: Where do things stand in key states?

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has clashed with Trump over her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, praised the board’s vote. “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.”

“Democracy has prevailed,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in a statement. “Today’s vote of the State Board of Canvassers to certify Michigan’s November election confirms the truth: the election was fair and secure, and the results accurately reflect the will of the voters.”

As in other swing states, including Pennsylvania and Georgia, Michigan Republicans have been challenging the vote since Election Day, arguing that there were “irregularities” or out-and-out fraud that muddy the results. In Michigan, the argument was especially tense in Wayne County, home of Detroit and predominantly Black, where Biden won by a large margin.

Republican canvassers have been under pressure from the Republican National Committee, which on Saturday asked them not to certify the votes until there is a “full transparent audit” in Wayne County.

The fight in the county centered on the fact that 70% of the precincts were out of balance, which typically means there were clerical errors, said Mark Brewer, a Michigan attorney who works with the Democratic Party on voting issues.

Those precincts had from one to four votes that were unaccounted for, meaning that the entire fight is over about 450 votes in a county where 862,000 people cast ballots. Biden had a 332,000-vote advantage there.

The Trump campaign had filed a lawsuit in Michigan but withdrew it when Wayne County canvassers initially voted against certification.

On Friday, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, both Republicans, said they had “not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.”

The pair issued a joint statement after meeting at the White House with Trump amid the president’s effort to overturn the state’s vote for Biden. “We will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors,” they said.

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