Deadlocked Michigan County Fails to Certify Vote. Then a 180

Board of canvassers ultimately reverses course after controversial decision
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2020 12:23 AM CST
Deadlocked Michigan County Fails to Certify Vote. Then a 180
A voter picks up an informational flier while filling out a ballot during absentee early voting at Wayne County Community College in Detroit, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A shock, followed by an abrupt reversal: Michigan's largest county on Tuesday night deadlocked and failed to certify the election results, then pulled a 180 and certified them after all, the AP reports. The Wayne County Board of Canvassers initially voted 2-2, along party lines, for and against certifying the results—despite the fact that, as the AP puts it, Joe Biden "crushed" President Trump in the Detroit-area Democratic stronghold, winning the vote by a margin of more than 2 to 1. CNN reports that both Michigan insiders and election experts were shocked with the initial blocking of the certification, and the outcry was swift and vehement, with many calling the move unprecedented and dangerous. "Today's action is a blatant attempt to undermine the will of the voters," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. Meanwhile, Trump was mistakenly crowing that all of Michigan had refused to certify the election results.

In a public comment period over Zoom during the board's meeting, a reverend who is the head of the Detroit branch of the NAACP called the decision a "disgrace." The Republicans who voted against certifying claimed they were doing so because of discrepancies in some Detroit districts, despite the fact that nonpartisan experts have said there was no fraud. One of the Democratic members of the board said it was simply "human error" that led to any discrepancies, which were few in number and have been common in past elections as well. Then, in what is being called a "stunning" and "abrupt" reversal, the board voted again, unanimously, to certify the results. The new vote came less than two hours after the original, Politico reports. The Republicans on the board called for the Michigan secretary of state to audit any precincts whose numbers don't match up. Biden leads Michigan by more than 148,000 votes. (More Election 2020 stories.)

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