It’s been a wild 24 hours or so in Wayne County, Michigan, where the Board of Canvassers initially refused to certify the county’s results from the 2020 General Election, as Nick Arama covered. The vote was 2-2, along party lines, with the Republican members voting against certification. Those members, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, said there were too many irregularities in the results, including that “absentee ballot poll books at 70% of Detroit’s 134 absentee counting boards were found to be out of balance without explanation.”
After the vote, other members of the board and the public – and even Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson – harassed and threatened Hartmann and Palmer for nearly two hours until the two relented and voted to certify. Here’s one example of the harassment:
VIDEO: Wayne County Board of Canvasser Dem @NedStaebler admits that only 72% ballots are “recount-able” but says votes need 2B certified because it was worse during the primary.
— Yossi Gestetner (@YossiGestetner) November 18, 2020
Only 72 percent of the ballots are recountable? Excuse me? And that’s okay because it was worse in the primary? Absolutely unacceptable, and not the norm in Michigan according to a longtime precinct chair who spoke to RedState on condition of anonymity. The woman, whom we’ll refer to as Jane, said that 100 percent of the ballots should be recountable and that she personally has never seen an instance in which they weren’t. (Note: Jane spoke to me and my “Sounds Right” co-host, Scott Hounsell, Wednesday afternoon at length, and that episode will be posted by Thursday morning.)
During the meeting Benson tweeted threatening to have the state Board of Canvassers take over the process in Wayne County unless the board voted to certify.
My statement on the actions taken during today’s meeting of the Board of Wayne County Canvassers. pic.twitter.com/Vb2TRpiLdJ
— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) November 17, 2020
Hartmann and Palmer said they voted to certify after coming to an agreement that a full audit of the county’s votes would be performed. The two believed that the Secretary of State’s office had bought in to that agreement:
In a late night twist, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers unanimously agrees to certify the results, on the condition Secretary of State’s office conduct a comprehensive audit of the unexplained, out of balance precincts across the county
— Kayla Ruble (@RubleKB) November 18, 2020
The two learned Wednesday that “state officials had reneged or would not honor the audit, leaving them no recourse but to oppose certification until more investigation could be performed,” according to John Solomon. They submitted affidavits detailing the harassment, bullying, and threats they’d received to coerce their vote, and listed the unresolved irregularities that caused their initial no votes.
Palmer has outstanding requests for the information needed to perform a proper canvass, according to the affidavit:
“The Wayne County election had serious process flaws which deserve investigation. I continue to ask for information to assure Wayne County voters that these elections were conducted fairly and accurately. Despite repeated requests I have not received the requisite information and believe an additional 10 days of canvas by the State Board of canvassers will help provide the information necessary,”
“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.”
As Solomon notes, it’s unclear whether the affidavits will prevent state officials from appointing electors.