PHOTO CREDITS: KENT NISHIMURA/LOS ANGELES TIMES
Wayne County, Michigan election board Republicans have rescinded their votes to certify election results, filing affidavits that their families were threatened.
As previously reported, the two Republicans on the four member Board of Canvassers for Wayne County, Michigan reversed course Tuesday night, voting to certify the county’s election results after initially refusing to do so due to irregularities in polling books. The four member board comprised of two Democrats and two Republicans earlier deadlocked at 2-2. However, after listening to residents’ concerns during the virtual public meeting and allegedly being threatened online, the Republicans voted to certify the vote, though they asked Democrat Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to audit certain precincts with problems.
William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, the two Republican board members, have since rescinded their votes to certify the votes and filed affidavits that their families were threatened. According to the affidavits, a Democratic observer allegedly threatened the board member’s children the night of the vote. The pair’s submitted affidavits detailed the alleged harassment, bullying, and threats they’d received to coerce their vote, and listed the unresolved irregularities that caused their initial no votes.
Ned Staebler, the chief executive of TechTown and a poll challenger at the TCF Center in Detroit, said in a viral Zoom meeting, “The Trump stain, the stain of racism that you, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, have covered yourself in, is going to follow you throughout history.” Staebler said the two would “forever be known in southeastern Michigan as two racists who did something so unprecedented that they disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Black voters in the city of Detroit.”
Another Democrat observer that night threatened their children. The two GOP members of Wayne County’s election board signed affidavits Wednesday night alleging they were bullied and misled into approving election results in Michigan’s largest metropolis and do not believe the votes should be certified until serious irregularities in Detroit votes are resolved. After the vote, other members of the public allegedly harassed and threatened Hartmann and Palmer for nearly two hours until the two relented and voted to certify. Hartmann and Palmer said they voted to certify after coming to an agreement that a full audit of the county’s votes would be performed.
The two believed that the Secretary of State’s office had bought into that agreement. The two learned Wednesday that “state officials had reneged or would not honor the audit, leaving them no recourse but to oppose certification until more investigation could be performed,” according to John Solomon. The pair said state officials indicated they would not honor an earlier compromise to audit the ballots, which contributed to their decision to rescind. It was unclear if their decision to rescind could change their earlier vote to certify (The Spectator).
Palmer has outstanding requests for the information needed to perform a proper canvass, according to the affidavit: “The Wayne County election had serious process flaws which deserve investigation. I continue to ask for information to assure Wayne County voters that these elections were conducted fairly and accurately. Despite repeated requests I have not received the requisite information and believe an additional 10 days of canvas by the State Board of canvassers will help provide the information necessary.”
Hartmann said in the affidavit that he observed about 71% of Detroit’s 134 Absent Voter Counting Boards “were left unbalanced and many unexplained.” He said he voiced his concerns and said if the votes did not match, there should have been some kind of explanation. Powell said she spotted the same discrepancy. Palmer said in her affidavit that she faced “accusations of racism” and threats to her family. “After the vote, my Democratic colleagues chided me and Mr. Hartmann for voting not to certify,” she said, according to the affidavit. “After the vote, the public comment period began and dozens of people made personal remarks against me and Mr. Hartmann. The comments made accusations of racism and threatened me and members of my family. The public comment continued for over two hours and I felt pressured to continue the meeting without a break.”
The statements by Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chairwoman Monica Palmer and fellow GOP member William C. Hartmann rescinding their votes from a day earlier threw into question anew whether Michigan’s presidential vote currently favoring Democrat Joe Biden will be certified. They also signaled a possible legal confrontation ahead. “I voted not to certify, and I still believe this vote should not be certified,” Hartmann said in his affidavits. “Until these questions are addressed, I remain opposed to certification of the Wayne County results.” Palmer added in her affidavit: “I rescind my prior vote to certify Wayne County elections” (Just The News).
The Trump campaign has since announced that it was withdrawing its lawsuit in the state, citing what happened in Wayne County. “This morning we are withdrawing our lawsuit in Michigan as a direct result of achieving the relief we sought: to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted,” said Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Both Republicans say they were called racists and subjected to threats for raising concerns about ballots that Democrats said were from predominantly Black communities, Jenna Ellis, a lawyer for the Trump 2020 Campaign, told Fox News on Tuesday (FOX).
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE