In Wayne County, Michigan, late Wednesday, two election board Republicans, Chairperson Monica Palmer and fellow board member, William Hartmann, rescinded their votes to certify the election. Palmer and Hartmann had originally voted to block certification. But after "harsh" pressure and "chiding" from the secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson and the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, and other board members and state officials, they changed their votes on Tuesday to move forward with the election certification. They had conditioned their agreement to certify based on their request for a full official audit.
Republican Chairwoman Palmer said that her refusal to certify was based on the belief that she and her colleague Hartmann "[did] not have complete and accurate information in those poll books." The poll books showed that 71% of Detroit's 134 absentee counting boards were found to be out of balance without explanation.
The push to delay certification of the vote brought the wrath of Democrat Board of Canvassers member Ned Staebler, who said on Tuesday that the "stain of racism would follow [Palmer and Hartmann] throughout history." He maintained that they "disenfranchised 100's of 1000's of black voters in the city of Detroit" because they voted to block certification. He added that "when they try to sleep tonight, millions of people around the world" will associate their names with racism.
After two hours of deliberation, Palmer and Hartmann agreed to allow certification to go through as long as the Secretary of State's office, Jocelyn Benson, agreed to conduct a "comprehensive audit."
Palmer and Hartmann were emboldened by a letter written by Michigan President Pro Tempore, Aric Nesbitt, reinforcing their findings of irregularities. He tweeted a letter written on Monday, Nov.16, requesting that the Michigan secretary of state authorize a "full, independent audit to be conducted to investigate each of the accusations listed...prior to the certification of any results." President Trump retweeted the Nesbitt post today. Benson later refused to audit the ballots by stating, "she did not view their audit resolution to be binding."
Democrats viewed Staebler's statements as heroic, but Republicans perceived them to be bullying. In the segment with Fox News anchor Shannon Bream, Senior Legal Advisor to the 2020 Trump Campaign Jenna Ellis said that during the two-hour interim period between the block to certify and the agreement to go ahead, there were "public comments, including those of sitting congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)" accusing the two Republicans of racism. It was at that point, Ellis continued, that Palmer and Hartmann "[backed] off."
Governor Whitmer said that the move to block certification was an "attempt to undermine the will of the voters." The block to certify the election could be significant because it would open the door to selecting electors by the state legislature, a potential big win for President Trump.
There have been multiple reports of intimidation related to the 2020 election, including barring and shaming poll watchers in several cities, as well as Detroit. Lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, who are now on the Trump election fraud team of attorneys, discussed with John Solomon of Just the News the many forms of intimidation they see related to the election. Toensing and DiGenova mentioned intimidation of poll watchers in Pittsburgh. Toensing also stated that the intimidation goes "right to the heart of how our judicial system works with big corporations, like GM, had the left contact them and say 'you fire every single law firm that's representing President Trump."
She added that their firm in Philadelphia, Porter Wright, left the Trump campaign defense team high and dry because of intimidation. Toensing said that they "chickened out and one of [the Trump team] lawyers was threatened by a lawyer from [opposing counsel] Kirkland and Ellis with all kinds of foul words for her [representation of Trump]. This was Kirkland and Ellis who was representing the Pennsylvania Secretary of State (Kathy Boockvar). The lawyer left a message telling our lawyer how terrible she was for representing the President of the United States. That's frightening. That's not how our legal system works."