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Experts say next step of certifying Michigan votes is ‘simple’ process

Michigan Board of State Canvassers to certify results of 2020 election Monday

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers is expected to certify the results of the 2020 election on Monday, Nov. 23.

Several legal experts and local leaders say the state’s certification of votes is simply the next step in the process and should carry on normally, despite drama over the certification process in Wayne County this week.

“We don’t have the discretion to dispute to certify a vote that they don’t like,” said Christina Schlitt, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan.

More: Trump targets Wayne County vote certification in late bid to block Biden

Schlitt’s comment comes days after two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers initially voted not to certify the county’s election results on Tuesday. Members Monica Palmer and William Hartmann then changed course and voted to certify the results that same day.

The pair changed their minds again, however, after having a conversation with President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, Palmer and Hartmann filed affidavits saying they believed the county vote “should not be certified” in an attempt to rescind their decision.

Michigan officials say that there is no legal mechanism in place for the members to change their vote following certification.

Read: Michigan: GOP canvassers can’t legally rescind Wayne County election certification vote

Now the certification of Michigan votes rests in the hands of the state board of canvassers, and is scheduled to take place on Monday. Still, the Trump administration is trying to put pressure on the state’s board of canvassers -- comprised of two Democrats and two Republicans -- in an effort to keep them from certifying Joe Biden’s win in the state.

Biden holds a lead of about 154,000 votes over Trump in Michigan.

“I’m not worried about any attempts for them to cast out Wayne County,” said Detroit NAACP Executive Director Kamilia Landrum. “The (county) vote is certified; this portion is done. Now we’re moving on to the state level, which is the state board of canvassers.”

Former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan John Pirich says the process for the state to certify votes in Michigan could not be simpler.

“I don’t think you can get more simplistic or simplified than that process,” Pirich said. “That’s their ministerial duty: no discretion involved, simply look at the numbers, make sure you have them all (and) once you tabulate them, you determine the successful candidate.”

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. on Nov. 23 to canvass and certify the state’s election results.

Just ahead of the state’s planned certification on Monday, at least two Republican Michigan lawmakers have been invited to meet with President Trump in person. Michigan Senate majority leader Mike Shirkey and House speaker Lee Chatfield are meeting with Trump at the White House on Friday afternoon, though the nature of the meeting is not entirely clear.

“What we are witnessing before our eyes is an undermining of people’s confidence in their democracy,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell. “He is attacking the integrity of our elections and unfortunately, shaking the very foundations of the pillars of our democracy and that is unacceptable and must be challenged.”

Read more: What we know about President Trump’s meeting with two Michigan GOP lawmakers


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