Two Republicans on the four-member Wayne County board of canvassers in Michigan abruptly reversed course Tuesday night and certified the presidential election results, showing former Vice President Joe Biden as the winner.
The move came after intense backlash following Monica Palmer and William Hartmann‘s refusal to validate the vote count of Michigan’s largest county, which includes Detroit.
“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,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said in a statement.
A Zoom call for the board of canvassers’ meeting was initially limited to 100 participants, but was expanded to accommodate more than 300 participants, as members of the community voiced their concerns that the partisan blocking of certification would disenfranchise Black voters.
Both had cited voting discrepancies as the reason to not certify, echoing baseless GOP rhetoric of widespread voter fraud. Palmer had initially said votes outside of Detroit should be certified — communities that are predominantly white. She also acknowledged that some areas outside of Detroit, had larger variances than Detroit in voting, but maintained they should still be certified.
The board’s unanimous certification vote took place moments after President Donald Trump praised the 2-2 deadlock in a tweet.
“Wow! Michigan just refused to certify the election results! Having courage is a beautiful thing. The USA stands proud!” Trump wrote.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement that the discrepancies were no cause for alarm and similar occurrences had been noted in past elections, causing the canvassing results to be recanvassed at the state level.
“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,” she said.
The county board’s decision to certify comes with a call for Benson to independently audit the precincts with discrepancies.