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Michigan Certifies Joe Biden’s Election Victory

Protestors gather in support of President Trump on Nov. 14 in Lansing, Mich. Trump and his allies have baselessly alleged widespread voter fraud was to blame for the president's election loss.
Image credit: Jeff Kowalsky

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Updated at 4:37 p.m. ET

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Monday voted to certify the state’s election results, after weeks of attempts by President Trump, the outgoing Republican nominee, to overturn his opponent’s victory. Three members voted in favor of certification, and one abstained.

The road to certification this election cycle has been an unusually complicated affair in the closely watched swing state. Trump had banked on winning Michigan, which he narrowly captured in 2016 over Hillary Clinton, in order to secure the White House for a second term.

But President-elect Joe Biden was able to flip the Great Lake State back for Democrats this year, with the former vice president and his running mate, Kamala Harris, having campaigned heavily in the state.

As it became increasingly clear that his path to victory there had narrowed, Trump employed unprecedented tactics to try and delay the certification process or replace Biden’s electors with ones who would vote for Trump, despite the vote’s outcome.

Last week, the president invited to the White House several Republican Michigan state lawmakers for a discussion, which press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said was “not an advocacy meeting” for Trump’s campaign to overthrow the election.

After that meeting, two high-ranking state officials released a joint statement affirming that they would “follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors.”

The two lawmakers, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, said further: “Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation.”

The main basis of Trump’s legal complaints to overturn the election results hinges on what he and his allies have baselessly alleged was widespread voter fraud. Those lawsuits have been largely thrown out in court or withdrawn by the Trump campaign.

Republicans pushing for a certification delay had argued that votes particularly in the Democrat-leaning Wayne County — the state’s largest county, in which the majority African American and heavily Democrat city of Detroit is located — should be audited.

Trump has historically held low favorability among Black voters. The president had also spent months criticizing the process of absentee voting, which a historic number of voters utilized this year as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and urged his supporters to vote in person on Election Day. Trump later complained about the number of absentee that had gone in favor of Biden.

The Michigan lawmakers, Shirkey and Chatfield, said that any investigations of fraud should be thoroughly investigated, but said as of Friday, they “have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.”

Biden is ahead in the state by more than 155,000 votes, according to the Associated Press count.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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