DETROIT (AP) — A state Board of Canvassers’ meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been cancelled after canvassers in southeastern Michigan’s Wayne County unanimously certified election results showing Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump.
The meeting had been scheduled in case the state board needed to canvass any county results if a county failed to certify, according to Tracy Wimmer, spokeswoman for Michigan’s secretary of state.
“All counties have certified, so the meeting was unnecessary,” Wimmer said in an email. The board is next scheduled to meet Nov. 23 to certify the Nov. 3 general election.
On Tuesday, two Republican members of the Wayne County canvassing board initially voted against certifying that county’s results, resulting in a 2-2 deadlock with Democrats on the board. Republican member Monica Palmer said poll books in certain precincts in Detroit — a majority-Black city — were out of balance.
The deadlock brought on cries and complaints of racism from Democrats.
Jonathan Kinloch, a Democrat on the panel, said the discrepancies were the result of “human error” and called it “reckless and irresponsible” to not certify the results.
The canvassers later held a revote and certified the results 4-0.
Wayne County Commission Chair Alisha Bell said voting to not certify an election “has never happened” in her 18 years on the commission.
“My speculation is this is a concerted effort by the Republican Party across the country … to delay certification of the vote,” said Bell, who is a Democrat and represents part of Detroit’s west side. “It’s a last-ditch effort to delay.”
The change in votes by Palmer and William Hartmann came after “three hours of being berated by the public,” she added.
“They came to their senses to do the right thing,” Bell said. “This was just wrong. They had to single it out against Detroit.”
Republicans are also trying to stop formal certification of the election results in other swing states, including Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
In Michigan, Trump allies and Republican poll challengers have spent days launching unsuccessful litigation. They claimed fraud during absentee ballot counting at a Detroit convention center, but two judges found no evidence and refused to stop the canvassing process.
Biden crushed Trump in Wayne County, a Democratic stronghold, by more than a 2-1 margin and won Michigan by 146,000 votes, according to unofficial results. His victory reversed Trump’s surprise 2016 gains in the industrial Midwest and put Biden on the path to clearing the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.
Nicole Small, the vice chair of the Detroit Charter Commission, was one of hundreds who watched Tuesday’s county canvassing meeting live.
Small believes the deadlocked vote was a blatant attempt at voter suppression that was fueled by “50% racism and 50% Republican politics because of Trump.”
“I think it’s a dose of reality of the times that we are living in,” Small said. “It shows how much we have regressed not only just in politics but in making sure that civil rights are exercised and acknowledged no matter what color you are.”
“Racism is alive and well,” she added. “I do not believe that Trump has created racism amongst people but I do think he was the safety net and the vehicle for people to be more active in practicing their racism and their prejudiced beliefs publicly. She (Monica Palmer) was simply there, her and her counterpart, to suppress the votes of over 250,000 voters in Detroit.”
Associated Press Race And Ethnicity reporter Katrease Stafford contributed to this story. Williams reported from West Bloomfield, Michigan.