RNC chairwoman calls on Michigan officials to pause election certification

The latest attempt by the Republican Party to stop Board of State Canvassers from certifying the 2020 presidential election results was submitted Saturday in a letter requesting a two-week delay.

A joint letter from the Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Michigan GOP Chairman Laura Cox, urged the board to adjourn for 14 days to allow an in-depth audit to avoid the “distrust and sense of procedural disenfranchisement” from Michigan voters.

McDaniel and Cox pointed to alleged “anomalies and credible reports of procedural irregularities” in Wayne County, which made headlines this week after two of the board’s canvassers first opposed certifying the election’s results. They then opted to support them, before again changing their minds and filing to rescind their support. This did not effectively reverse the board's certification.

But the request to pause certification to allow for an audit is fruitless as Michigan law "prohibits audits prior to state certification of election results," according to Jake Rollow, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of State.

"Candidates have a right to request a recount after election certification, and if a recount were to find a different winner, that could indeed change the outcome of the election," Rollow said in response.

"At this time, no evidence of widespread misconduct or fraud has been reported, and judges initially appointed by both Republicans and Democrats have found allegations of widespread fraud to be wholly meritless," he added. 

Several audits are expected to follow the certification of the election. 

President-elect Joe Biden won Michigan by more than  votes, though the Trump campaign has filed several lawsuits challenging the election’s results by alleging voter and election fraud – none of which has held up in court. The Trump campaign dropped its final lawsuit in the Great Lake State Thursday.

The Michigan Board of Canvassers is set to officially certify the election’s results Monday.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James, who has not yet conceded his race to Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Peters, made a similar for a delay to the board Friday.   

“The procedural and accounting irregularities identified by the James Campaign’s request are credible, deeply concerning, and threaten to undermine Michiganders' faith in the integrity of the November 2020 General Election,” said the joint statement Saturday. “To simply gloss over those irregularities now without a thorough audit would only foster feelings of distrust among Michigan’s electorate.”

The statement came a day after President Trump met with Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield – both Republicans – in a suspected attempt by his campaign to overturn the state’s election results.

Following the Friday afternoon meeting with Trump and his legal team, the Michigan legislative officials said they found no “evidence that would “change the outcome of the election.”

“The candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes,” they said.

"We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and, as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election," the lawmakers continued. 

“Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation. Allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.  


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