Obscure Michigan board thrust into fracas over electoral results

www.washingtonpost.com
7 min read
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A Republican member's willingness to consider discredited voting fraud claims has brought additional attention to the panel.
But the case the canvassing board will take up Monday is very, very different. No big-box retailer seeking a lower property tax bill has ever been cast as threatening the fate of the republic. Many constitutional experts and ordinary voters see President Trump as imperiling democracy by refusing to accept his resounding defeat in Michigan and concede the election.

Shinkle's willingness to consider widely discredited voting fraud claims — along with his wife's role as a witness in one of Trump's lawsuits — has drawn scrutiny to an obscure panel that typically rubber stamps election results. Though its members are partisans appointed by the governor, the board — composed of two Democrats and two Republicans — has always voted unanimously to certify statewide elections.

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The possibility that it might not do so took on urgency in recent days after Republicans on the canvassing board for predominantly Democratic Wayne County briefly blocked certification there. The moment underscored how relatively unknown officials might seek to alter the outcome of an election that handed Democrat Joe Biden a clear victory.

"This time, we need a bunch of boring accountants with green eyeshades, but that's not the way it works, so we're stuck with this," said Jeffrey Timmer, a former Republican member of the statewide board and an adviser to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. "It's a goofy system designed for deadlock."

If the Board of Canvassers deadlocks on the decision to certify Michigan's results Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) could seek to replace some of its members — an action that experts believe could be legally complicated — or obtain a court order requiring the board to certify.

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On Saturday, citing what it said were "procedural and accounting irregularities," the Republican National Committee and the state Republican Party asked the statewide board to adjourn for two weeks rather than certify the result, allowing time for an audit of Wayne County…
Beth Reinhard, Alice Crites, Dalton Bennett
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