Republican officials in Wayne County, Michigan, made a stunning move to block the certification of their presidential election results Tuesday — but backed down a few hours later amid intense criticism.
Wayne County is the largest county in the state, it includes the city of Detroit (where the vast majority of the population is Black), and it votes heavily for Democrats. As with all Michigan counties, its election results go to a bipartisan board of canvassers for certification that has two Democrats and two Republicans.
Usually, this is a formality. But on Tuesday, the two Republicans initially said at a meeting that they wouldn’t certify the results, claiming various “irregularities” meant they weren’t sure they could trust the count.
The move was exactly what many following Trump’s efforts to dispute the election results have long feared. Biden clearly won Michigan — he leads there by over 140,000 votes, a 2.6 percent margin. But if Wayne County’s results were excluded from the count entirely, Trump would win. Practically, the local officials’ move wouldn’t have been the last word, as the state board of canvassers would have then gotten to weigh in — but that board, too, is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans.
President Trump welcomed this effort to overturn the will of Michigan’s voters. “Wow! Michigan just refused to certify the election results! Having courage is a beautiful thing. The USA stands proud!” he tweeted. The chair of the Michigan Republican Party also praised the move and helped take credit for it.
But quickly, it fell apart. As the Wayne County board of canvassers meeting stretched onward, its Republican officials were bombarded with criticism, as news of their actions went viral nationwide. And after a few hours of this, they backed down, agreeing to certify Wayne County’s results alongside a request that Michigan’s secretary of state audit results.
This drama may not have lasted long, but it was disturbing nonetheless. Key Republicans basically made an attempt to steal the state of Michigan out of Joe Biden’s hands — and both the president and the Michigan Republican Party cheered them on. [Continue reading…]