GOP Wayne County election official in 2020 ballot dispute dies from COVID-19

William Hartmann. (WDIV)

DETROIT – A Republican election official who caused controversy by initially refusing to certify 2020 Detroit-area results in favor of President Joe Biden has died after being admitted to a hospital with COVID-19.

William Hartmann's death this week was reported to the Michigan Republican Party, spokesman Gustavo Portela said.

Hartmann, 63, was a member of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, a low profile panel that briefly burst into the national spotlight a year ago when it tied, 2-2, and failed to certify election results.

But Hartmann and fellow GOP member Monica Palmer changed course that same night after a wave of harsh criticism during the public comment period of the stormy meeting.

Hartmann insisted that he didn't bow to pressure but changed his vote only after being assured that a post-election audit would be conducted.

Earlier in November, Hartmann's sister told Facebook friends that her brother was on a ventilator with pneumonia related to COVID-19.