LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Board of State Canvassers voted today to certify election results for the entire state, solidifying President-elect Joe Biden's win and giving him the state's 16 electoral votes.
The meeting started at 1 p.m. and went past 8 p.m.
Just after 4 p.m., the board voted 3-0 to certify the election. Board Chair Jeannette Bradshaw, a Democrat, and board member Julie Matuzak, a Democrat, voted in favor of certification, as well as Vice Chair Aaron Van Langevelde, a Republican, who stated he did not have the authority to do otherwise.
Board member Norman Shinkle, a Republican, abstained, saying he needs more information from Wayne County.
President-elect Biden won the state over President Donald Trump by more than 150,000 votes.
Prior to voting on the certification, the board opened up the public comment period.
About 800 people signed up to comment during the meeting, including a number who entered their written comments into the public record. Each person was scheduled to have three minutes to address the board.
The board first called on a series of election-related officials from across the state.
After voting on the certification, the board returned to the public comment period.
Today, the Board of State Canvassers had one role and one role only, according to the numerous legal experts.
Counties certify their votes, and the board does nothing more than add up the votes and confirm that number.
Still, debates over the role of the board continued, with Republicans requesting a pre-certification “review” of the votes to ensure the accuracy of the votes coming out of Wayne County and Detroit.
Republican Vice Chair Van Langevelde said in his interpretation of the law, nothing gives them the authority to request an auditor review as part of the certification, respectfully disagreeing with Republicans in the meeting asking him to do the contrary.
Current Michigan voting law prevents the ballots from being released for an audit until after certification.
Multiple local clerks on the Zoom call asked the board to certify the vote. In 2016, when the election was certified by a close margin in Michigan giving Trump the state’s electoral votes, there were significantly more discrepancies in the vote count coming out of Wayne County.
A local law professor today said that if the board failed to certify the election when they have certifications from all Michigan counties, they could have been charged federally.
“I think it should be noted — the failure of any of the canvassers to preform their duties under the statute could end up being a federal felony, under the 1965 voting right act," said Jeffrey Swartz, professor of law at WMU Cooley Law School. "Which basically says they cannot do anything to discount votes that have been legally and lawfully cast."