One of the two Republicans on the four-member canvassing board is expected to vote against verifying the state election results, while the second Republican gave signals at the start of Monday’s meeting that he is likely to vote in favor, allowing the election results to be verified.
When Democratic board member Julie Matujak brought up a motion to confirm the election results, Republican board member Aaron von Langewelde said he wanted to hear public comments before the vote.
Van Langewelde did not give signs of how he would vote, but indicated he would vote to confirm. “I think we are very limited today. I think we have a responsibility to do this,” he said.
When the board discussed the certification question, von Langevelde noted that the board had no legal authority to investigate allegations of voter fraud.
The other Republican on the board, Norman Shinkle, will not vote. Michigan Republican Paul Mitchell, a Republican, said he had spoken to Shinkle days ago and indicated he would vote against verifying the election results until the investigation was complete – even if there was no evidence of fraud or abuse, such a move was necessary.
Shinkill asked Chris Thomas, a senior consultant to the Detroit City Clerk, who has built decades of service serving Republican and Democratic secretaries of state in Michigan, under what circumstances could board certification be delayed.
Thomas said, “If you have the returns completed, I do not think you can defer” and verifying the results is the only option for the board. All counties in Michigan have confirmed their results.
Shinkle rejected the role of Thomas, who said the election went smoothly. “Sensitive is not perfect at all,” Shinkill said.
If von Langewelde joins the Shinkle to vote against certification, a 2-2 vote split will push the state into unregulated legal territory. Republican Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield said if there is a 2-2 vote Sunday, “then Michigan will go to the Supreme Court and determine their response and what their order will be.”
“If they do not order it to be confirmed, we now have a constitutional crisis in the state of Michigan. It has never happened before,” Chatfield said in an interview with Fox News.
If the canvassing board votes against verifying the results, the case goes to the state Court of Appeal, and then to the state Supreme Court. The state Supreme Court has ruled that the results must be verified and may be replaced by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, or any of the board members.
The Trump campaign sought to interfere with the certification process and Trump turned to Michigan authorities, claiming he and attorney Rudy Giuliani were without widespread voter fraud and “tough elections.”
The Republican National Committee and the Michigan Republican Party sent a letter Saturday to the board of canvassers asking them to delay certification for 14 days. They asked to wait for an audit of election results in Wayne County, the largest county in the state that holds Detroit – even though state law does not allow it.