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Second County Refuses to Certify Election Results Over Tabulation Concerns

Jenna Ellis, an attorney on the legal team for the re-election of President Donald J. Trump, announced Tuesday that a second county would refuse to certify election results, which the Trump team saw as a victory.

The first group to refuse to certify details was Nevada’s Clark County, and the second county is Michigan’s Wayne County whose officials refuse to certify the election results over concerns of irregularities.

Trump posted about Clark County on Monday and said:

Ellis posted about the group from Wayne County Michigan and said:

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 Tuesday along party lines on whether the county’s Nov. 3 election results should be certified as at least four state and federal lawsuits sought to stop the process.

The decision came after absentee ballot poll books at 70% of Detroit’s 134 absentee counting boards were found to be out of balance without explanation. The mismatches varied anywhere from one to more than four votes. 

In August, canvassers found 72% of Detroit’s absentee voting precincts didn’t match the number of ballots cast. The imbalances between August and November are not an exact comparison since August’s canvassing was based on results from 503 precincts and November’s canvassing was based on 134 counting boards.

The situation in August and earlier imbalances in 2016 were not enough to keep the same board from certifying the results in the August and November 2016. 

Board Vice Chairman Jonathan Kinloch, a Democrat, called the decision by the two Republican members “reckless and irresponsible.”

Chairwoman Monica Palmer, a Republican, defended the decision. 

“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. 

Detroit News reported, “The campaign of President Donald Trump has been looking to discredit the results in Wayne County by questioning how the absentee ballots were counted at the TCF Center in Detroit. Democratic President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump 51%-48% in Michigan or by 146,000 votes in unofficial statewide results.

But at least four lawsuits by the Trump campaign and his allies in state and federal court have failed to gain traction as judges have said the witnesses and affidavits cited in the suits have been refuted or failed to provide corroborating evidence of widespread fraud. The litigation has sought to stop the canvassing of results in Wayne County based on allegations of barriers to Republican poll challengers and ballot counting irregularities.” 

The deadlocked Wayne County canvassing vote has the potential to delay the certification of statewide election results and extend the time for a potential recount.

A county board that fails to canvass within 14 days after the election must give all of its documentation to the Secretary of State’s office and Board of State Canvassers, which then has 10 days to complete the work, canvass and certify the results, according to the board’s canvassing manual.

Wayne County must pay for the state canvassing work, according to board guidance.

The county’s election results will move the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, which is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning to get an update on the canvassing process and is expected to consider the question of certification of Michigan’s results on Monday.

The board is tasked with overseeing Wayne County staff as they review and authenticate  documents produced during the tabulation of results on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4. The board then certifies the results by signing off on the canvassing process and announcing the final vote totals in Wayne County. 

County canvassing boards have 14 days from the start of the canvassing process to certify their results. 

The lack of a Wayne County certification could extend the time for a possible recount. Recount petitions are required to be filed with the county clerk within six days after the county canvassing board completes its work.

At the state level, recount petitions in the races for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House and state House can be filed with the secretary of state within 48 hours after the State Board of Canvassers certifies the election results and adjourns. 

The U.S. Constitution requests the states to certify their results by Dec. 8, which is known as the “safe harbor” day. Any state that doesn’t do so potentially invites Congress to get involved in resolving a dispute about which candidate won the state’s electoral votes.

The board’s two Republican lawmakers were present during the absentee ballot counting process at TCF Center in Detroit. 

Palmer said part of the reason she observed the process was because of some of the problems identified during the canvassing of the August primary. 

In August, 72% of Detroit’s poll books were found to be out of balance, a condition that precluded them from being used if a recount were requested. The issues prompted the state to send in additional help ahead of the general election, including veteran state elections official Thomas. 

Detroit had problems with precinct count mismatches in the November 2016 election. Election officials couldn’t reconcile vote totals for 59% of precincts in the city during a countywide canvass of vote results with most of the issues involving too many votes.

Those votes couldn’t be recounted when Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein demanded a statewide recount following Donald Trump’s initial 13,000-vote victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in Michigan. A recount was started but stopped and nullified by the courts when Stein was ruled ineligible for a recount request because she had no chance at victory.

The results eventually were certified as a 10,704-vote victory for Trump.

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