Michigan’s 16 electors unanimously cast their votes for President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris Monday.
The process, which ordinarily flies under the radar, was in the national spotlight Monday following “credible threats of violence” according to a spokeswoman for Republican Senate leadership, and an ominous interview in which state Representative Gary Eisen (R-St. Clair Township) said he could not assure that it was going to be a safe day in Lansing.
Only electors, select staff, and pooled press were allowed inside the building, which was fortified by Michigan State Police.
Elector Bobbie Walton from Genesee County said she was more “watchful” after the threats were made, but she said this is an important step in confirming what the people want.
“I think it’s important for anybody to stand up and state the truth and the truth is that Joe Biden was legally elected to be the President in the state of Michigan,” said Walton.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who chaired the proceeding eight years prior when President Barack Obama was re-elected, implored that Monday was a day, “that we honor the traditions of our nation, we respect our Constitution, and we move forward.”
Whitmer also condemned partisanship and “the doubt that has been sown” calling it “incredibly damaging to our democracy and to our ability to move our nation forward through this public health crisis.”
The Governor noted Rep. Eisen’s comments were “incredibly discouraging and downright dangerous.” Eisen was stripped of his committee assignments for the duration of the term by House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering).
Yet, despite repeated overtures that they’d continue to investigate so-called “irregularities” in the 2020 election both Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) released statements saying the electoral college process must follow the law, even if that meant making Biden’s victory in the state official.
“I can’t fathom risking our norms, traditions and institutions to pass a resolution retroactively changing the electors for Trump, simply because some think there may have been enough widespread fraud to give him the win. That’s unprecedented for a good reason. And that’s why there is not enough support in the House to cast a new slate of electors,” said Chatfield.
He added, “I fear we’d lose our country forever. This truly would bring mutually assured destruction for every future election in regards to the Electoral College. And I can’t stand for that. I won’t.” Though, Chatfield did note the investigation into the 2020 election and hearings in the state House of Representatives would continue.
Shirkey released a statement saying, “While there are some who still argue this should not take place, we must recognize that our feelings, our desires, and our disappointments are subordinate to the health of our democracy and the will of the country.”
A small group of Republicans attempted to enter the Capitol during the meeting, but were denied access by state police. Meshawn Maddock, co-founder of Michigan Trump Republicans and wife of State Rep. Matt Maddock were among the group who attempted to gain entry.
Maddock posted to Facebook later, “the delegation of 16 Michigan Republican Electors convened to cast their ballots for President Trump and send their pledges to Washington!” continuing “we did not replace any Democrat electors.”
Georgia Republicans also attempted to do the same. Yet, Michigan state law is clear: Michigan electors were chosen at the party conventions this summer, and according to the Michigan Election Law Act of 1954 the electors considered being elected are “those whose names have been certified to the secretary of state by that political party receiving the greatest number of votes for those offices at the next November election.”
Despite the attempt, the vote went on as planned with the state’s 16 Democratic electors unanimously casting their votes for Biden and Harris about an hour into the meeting.
The crowd erupted into cheers when state party chair, Lavora Barnes, announced, “The electors have unanimously cast 16 votes for Joseph R. Biden.”
Now, the certificates of election that the electors signed will head to the national archivist and the President of the U.S. Senate before being sent to Congress, which will count the votes in early January.