by Scott McClallen
The Michigan State Board of Canvassers on Monday voted to certify the Nov. 3 election results on a 3-0 vote with one member abstaining.
Republican board member Aaron Van Langevelde voted with Democrats.
“I’ve reviewed every section. I haven’t found anything about an audit,” Van Langevelde said. “I found nothing about authority for us to delay certification because we’re waiting for more accurate results. I found nothing about making certification contingent on an audit. I found nothing that gives us the authority to review complaints for fraud.”
GOP member Norm Shinkle voted to abstain, citing concerns of out-of-balance counting boards in Wayne County and arguing that Michigan voters “deserve better.”
Roughly 26,000 people were watching on YouTube while the board took public comment for roughly three hours.
Christopher Thomas, a 40-year veteran of the Bureau of Elections, recommended certifying the results.
Thomas said the remedy for unbalanced counting boards – an audit – would be taken after the certification.
Thomas said if the canvassers have completed returns from the 83 counties, canvassers have a duty to certify the election.
Michigan GOP Chair Laura Cox asked the board to delay certification so they could “remove distrust” about election irregularities.
John James’ campaign lawyer Charles Spies said he thought the board had to power to order an audit, citing statute that board members must “ascertain and determine the result of an election.” James was a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, but lost to Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Peters.
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, welcomed the decision. Chatfield said the board “fulfilled its legal duties today in certifying the results, and now our democratic process can move forward. This is America at work.”
“I am also glad the conspiracy theories pushed by far too many Democrats and some talking heads in the media for attention and personal or political gain have finally been put to rest. As we have been saying consistently for weeks, the Legislature will uphold the law and respect this result as it works to improve the process for next time,” Chatfield said in a statement.
“That includes continuing our work in the House and Senate Oversight committees, getting answers for the many people across our state who are concerned about the integrity of the process and giving them the peace of mind they deserve. That too is America at work.”
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement that “Democracy has prevailed,” and repeated the election was “fair and secure.”
“Now we turn to the important work of implementing a statewide risk limiting audit and local procedural audits to affirm the integrity of the process and identify opportunities for improvement. And we will continue working with lawmakers at the state and federal level to strengthen our elections even further in the months ahead.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer commended the members who certified the election.
“The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect [Joe] Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th,” Whitmer said in a statement.
“I also want to thank Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the local clerks across Michigan who made sure this year’s election was free, fair and secure, and the voters who turned out in record numbers to make their voices heard. Now, it’s time to put this election behind us and come together as a state to defeat our common enemy: COVID-19.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org.