DETROIT – Members of Michigan’s most populous county Republican electoral board on Tuesday refused to certify the county’s election results in an openly partisan effort to delay the victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. from state officials and residents of Detroit who accused them of trying to steal their votes and criticized the move as racist.
Both members of the Wayne County Republican Council, which includes Detroit and who voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Biden, are white. Republicans Monica Palmer and William Hartmann said they voted against certification of the results because county constituencies had conflicting numbers regarding the number of votes cast and the number of voters recorded as having participated, even though the disparities mainly concerned a small number of votes.
At one point, Ms. Palmer offered to “certify results in communities other than the city of Detroit”.
Mr. Biden won nearly 95% of the vote in Detroit, more than three-quarters of black people. The rest of Wayne County, which voted for Mr. Biden by a smaller margin, is more than three-quarters white.
Ms Palmer’s motion sparked cries of outrage at the meeting, which took place during a Zoom call.
“You look at the black towns and you took a black town out of the county and you said the only one at fault is the city of Detroit, where 80 percent of the population is African-Americans,” Rev. Wendell Anthony, president from the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP, yelled, his face almost touching the computer screen.
“Shame on you. You are a shame,” he said. “But on January 20, 2021, at noon, whatever you do, the President of the United States will be Joseph Biden and the Vice President, for the first time, will be a black woman named Kamala Harris.
Black Detroit resident who attended the meeting, Benita Bradley, asked Republicans, “Do you know how many young black teens voted for the first time this year?” And you sit here and slap these people in the face.
The initial 2-2 stalemate in the Wayne County Solicitors Council was one of the most vivid examples of how previously routine aspects of the country’s electoral system have been marred by months-long efforts to Mr. Trump to undermine confidence in the election.
One of the two Democratic board members Jonathan Kinloch, who is black, said after the initial vote he spoke with Ms Palmer for more than half an hour to try and convince her that certifying the results was the right thing to do. do and try to find a way to come to a compromise.
“When it comes to elections, whites don’t understand how ingrained the right to vote is in our consciousness,” Kinloch said. “All these barriers that our grandparents had to cross to exercise their right to vote so easily accessible to white Americans.”
None of the Republican council members immediately responded to a request for comment on how they came to change their votes.
The office of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson released a message on twitter Wednesday by stating that “all counties have certified their election results. The Council of State Solicitors is due to meet on November 23 to certify the November 3 general election. Mr. Biden defeated Mr. Trump in Michigan by nearly 150,000 votes.