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Benson Says Michigan Results Will Be Certified

Michigan Executive Office of the Governor

Republicans on the Wayne County vote-canvassing board said they now have second thoughts about certifying election results in the state’s largest voting jurisdiction. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says it’s too late for them to change their minds and throw the statewide election results into doubt.

That’s after GOP canvassers in Wayne County said in notarized statements that they felt pressured to reverse their votes and certify the results after initially balking.

Wayne County canvasser William Hartmann said he reversed his initial decision and voted to certify based on legal advice and the promise of an independent audit. That’s despite the fact that all elections processes are audited.“… I was under the belief that I could not exercise my independent judgement in opposition to the certification,” he said in his statement. “Therefore, I vote to certify the results.”

The other Republican canvasser also told The Detroit Free Press she got a phone call from President Donald Trump following Tuesday’s rancorous meeting that included hours of public comments.

To further complicate matters, multiple news outlets report Michigan’s Republicans leaders in the Legislature have agreed to fly to Washington DC at the behest of the White House.

Benson says there appears to be an effort afoot to question the results of the November 3rd elections and that’s not fair.

“We have lots of protocols and checks and balances in place to ensure that once votes are validly cast, they are secured, they are counted,” she said, “and the results are accurate even in spite of efforts partisan or otherwise to undermine that after the vote has been taken.”

Republicans now argue the county’s results are not final. But Benson says it’s too late.“We’re going to protect the will of the voters and protect the security of our elections,” she said.

The next step is for the Michigan Board of State Canvassers to meet Monday to certify the statewide results. But it’s not too late for Republicans or the Trump campaign to seek a recount or to file more lawsuits.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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