Trump notches win as Detroit area fails to certify election; state left to act

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UPDATE: Hours after deadlocking, the board reversed course and unanimously certified the election tally, adding a demand that the state conduct an audit of out-of-balance poll books.

Republicans scored a victory in Michigan after a Detroit-area county board of canvassers failed to certify presidential election results on time, leaving the job to a state panel that has 10 days to review and sign off.

The two Republican members of the canvassing board of Wayne County, which includes Detroit, voted against certifying the ballot count on Tuesday, and the two Democrats on the board voted in favor, creating a partisan deadlock that the GOP hopes will allow it more time to pursue claims of electoral misconduct.

The failure to certify the results means that Wayne County must turn the processes over to the state board, which will have 10 days to canvass and certify the results. Wayne County must pay for the state’s canvassing work. The decision for the two GOP members to vote against certification came after absentee-ballot poll books in Detroit were discovered to be out of balance, according to the Detroit News.

Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox hailed the development in a statement posted just minutes after the news broke.

“The people of Michigan deserve to know what happened in Wayne County on Election Day and the days following,” she said. “I am proud that, due to the efforts of the Michigan Republican Party, the Republican National Committee and the Trump Campaign, enough evidence of irregularities and potential voter fraud was uncovered resulting in the Wayne County Board of Canvassers refusing to certify their election results.”

“This action will allow more time for us to get to the bottom of these deeply troubling irregularities. The people of Michigan deserve fair, open and transparent elections, and we will continue to fight for just that,” Cox added.

The board’s Republican chairwoman Monica Palmer highlighted the absentee-ballot poll books as justification for her vote.

“Based on what I saw and went through in poll books in this canvass, I believe that we do not have complete and accurate information in those poll books,” she said.

The board’s Democratic vice chairman Jonathan Kinloch blasted the move to deadlock the certification as “reckless and irresponsible.”

The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in federal court this week in an attempt to keep Michigan from certifying its results until the voting process can be reviewed. It claimed several instances of electoral malfeasance and included dozens of sworn affidavits from GOP poll challengers in Wayne County.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who has repeatedly pushed back on claims of election misconduct in her state, said in a Tuesday evening statement that the poll books being out of balance does not equate to fraud and suggested state canvassers would agree.

“In similar circumstances in the past, state canvassers have appointed the Bureau of Elections to carry out the processes of canvassing the vote and voter totals,” Benson said. “The Bureau stands ready to fulfill this duty and we expect this will address clerical errors and improve the quality of the canvass overall. It is common for some precincts in Michigan and across the country to be out of balance by a small number of votes, especially when turnout is high.”

“Importantly, this is not an indication that any votes were improperly cast or counted,” she added.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer blasted the two GOP board members after their vote.

“In refusing to approve the results of the election in Wayne County, the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers have placed partisan politics above their legal duty to certify the election results,” Whitmer said in a statement.

“Today’s action is a blatant attempt to undermine the will of the voters. The process, however, will move forward,” the Democrat added.

The Washington Examiner has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

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