- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 19, 2020

Republican members of an election board in the Detroit area tried to switch their votes for a second time in a bid to block certification of the Nov. 3 election results.

Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the two GOP members on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, said they received threats, vehement personal attacks and other pressure to certify the vote.

They submitted affidavits to rescind the vote to certify, which came in a marathon board meeting and massive outcry from Detroit voters after they blocked approval of the ballot count Tuesday in a deadlocked 2-2 party-line vote.

Ms. Palmer and Mr. Hartmann objected to unbalanced absentee ballot logs in Detroit, meaning there were discrepancies between the number of ballots counted and the number of ballots recorded as having been cast.

Michigan election officials said Thursday the affidavits have no legal effect and the matter is now in the hands of the Board of State Canvassers, which is scheduled to meet Monday to sign off on the election results from the state’s 83 counties.

The reversal marked the latest twist in a breakneck series of events this week that included personal entreaties from President Trump, whose team is launching a flurry of long-shot legal challenges in a bid to delay the certification of the election results in a handful of close states.

Presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden is projected to win Michigan by more than 150,000 votes, or nearly 3 percentage points, over Mr. Trump.

After the initial deadlocked vote Tuesday, Ms. Palmer and Mr. Hartmann agreed to certify the results with an apparent understanding that there would be an audit later on.

In subsequent affidavits, copies of which were obtained by The Washington Times, Ms. Palmer and Mr. Hartmann said it didn’t look like Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, viewed the audit resolution as binding.

“Late in the evening, I was enticed to agree to certify based on the promise that a full and independent audit would take place,” Mr. Hartmann said. “I would not have agreed to the certification but for the promise of an audit.”

Laura Cox, who chairs the state Republican Party, said Ms. Palmer and Mr. Hartmann were subjected to “hours of threat and slander by Democrat plants” and the board was intimidated into certifying the results.

“The Republican canvassers simply want to extend the canvass to provide more answers and a fair, accurate election count,” Ms. Cox said. “I condemn the threats and intimidation that happened. There is no place in decent society for mob rule.”

During the debate on the vote, Ms. Palmer had said she was willing to certify results from other parts of the county but not Detroit, where 79% of the residents are Black.

Lavora Barnes, who chairs the state Democratic Party, called Ms. Palmer’s conduct and comments were racist.

“If she declines to resign, she should be removed,” Ms. Barnes said.
The two board members said that in reviewing the results, more than 70% of Detroit’s 134 Absent Voter Counting Boards were not balanced and many of the discrepancies were unexplained.

Ms. Palmer said that after the initial 2-2 vote, members of the public accused her of racism and threatened her and members of her family.

“The public comment continued for over two hours and I felt pressured to continue the meeting without break,” she said.

A deadlocked vote would have kicked the certification process up to the state.
Ms. Palmer said Thursday that Mr. Trump called her Tuesday evening to make sure she was “safe” amid threats and doxxing during a firestorm of outrage in Detroit.

The president also reportedly reached out to Mr. Hartmann to express solidarity.

It doesn’t appear that the affidavits will have any immediate practical effect, though they could cast doubt on the results ahead of Monday’s meeting of the state board.

Ms. Benson said no legal avenue is available to overturn the 4-0 vote to certify the results. The state’s other 82 counties also have certified their results. She said Michigan will conduct a long-planned state audit of the results as well as some “local performance audits.”

“This [is] a typical, standard procedure following election certification, and one that will be carried out in Wayne County and any other local jurisdictions where the data shows significant clerical errors following state certification of the November election,” Ms. Benson said.

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