On Tuesday night, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers in the swing state of Michigan was initially deadlocked, with two of the Republican members on the four-person Board refusing to certify the County's results in the election between President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden.
They cited a mismatched number between voters listed in the poll books and ballots actually cast—a phenomenon that occurred in 2016 as well. The clerical error affected around 397 votes in the county that President-elect Biden won by over 300 thousand votes.
One of the Board's Republican members—Monica Palmer—said she would be open to certifying results from districts in Wayne County that didn't include Detroit, which is around 80 percent Black. Nearby Livonia—a 90 percent white suburb—had a greater number of irregularities than Detroit.
The Republican members' refusal to certify opened up the possibility for certification to go to the state board, which—if deadlocked—would have allowed the state's Republican legislature to appoint its own electors, potentially swinging the state to Trump.
After constituent outcry, accusations of political impetus, and a premature celebration from Trump, the Board returned and unanimously certified the county's results.
According to the Associated Press, Trump personally reached out to Palmer and the other Republican board member, William Hartmann, to thank them for their support.
According to Palmer:
"I did receive a call from President Trump, late Tuesday evening, after the meeting. He was checking in to make sure I was safe after hearing the threats and doxing that had occurred."
In the time since that Tuesday night call, on Wednesday, Palmer and Hartmann sought to rescind their certification. The two signed affidavits, claiming they were misled on whether or not a subsequent audit of Wayne County's votes was binding.
They won't be successful, as the certification has already been signed and sent to the Michigan Secretary of State. What's more, one of the Wayne County Board's Democratic members, Jonathan Kinloch, introduced a motion on Tuesday night to waive reconsideration.
Kinloch said of Palmer's and Hartmann's change of heart:
"Do they understand how they are making us look as a body? We have such an amazing and important role in the democratic process, and they're turning it on its head."
Others felt the same, and were disgusted at Trump's efforts to pressure them to rescind.
So far, the most significant documented acts of electoral interference (and, yes, fraudulence) have been committed by the president of the United States, who is nevertheless alleging interference and fraud by everyone else. https://t.co/Gl7mwV3RjS
— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) November 19, 2020
This is stunningly corrupt. Every Republican who is still “humoring" Trump is complicit in these egregious attacks on democracy https://t.co/hX5wy63FHt
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) November 19, 2020
Trump personally asked local Republican officials to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of black voters because he doesn't think votes for his opponent should count. https://t.co/2pE8DEWRJu
— Adam Serwer 🍝 (@AdamSerwer) November 19, 2020
This is truly shocking—a new low for American constitutional democracy, one that would have been unthinkable just five years ago. But at this point is anyone actually surprised? https://t.co/U8aCozKO86
— Deepak Gupta (@deepakguptalaw) November 19, 2020
Hi, this is terrifying. The sitting President is trying to overturn the certified results of the election that his own party agreed he lost. https://t.co/LL5yERnlqG
— Geraldine (@everywhereist) November 19, 2020
This is precisely the kind of behavior that the US State Department used to condemn in tinpot dictatorships around the world: the president directly pressuring election officials to proclaim him the winner despite losing the election. This authoritarian madness needs to end. https://t.co/tYWqdMN31x
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) November 19, 2020
Fortunately, Trump's efforts in Wayne County are virtually certain to fail.
I'm afraid that the Constitution -- specifically Article XII, Section 48, Clause B -- explicitly declares "no backsies" https://t.co/F5uqjM9vDc
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) November 19, 2020
The no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote, that seems like the most important part of this story https://t.co/SFAOR0FX3Z
— Eric Daugherty (@astroeric12) November 19, 2020
The affidavits signed by Palmer and Hartmann are practically meaningless.
Even if the results in Michigan were somehow overturned—which is highly unlikely—Trump would still need to reverse the results in at least two states in order to receive the 270 electoral votes required to win the White House.