While a Republican in the four-member counting board is expected to vote against the certification of state election results, the second Republican indicated at the start of Monday’s meeting that he would likely vote for him, allowing the election results to be certified.
When Democratic board member Julie Matuzak submitted a proposal to the room to certify the election results, Republican board member Aaron Van Langvelde said he wanted to hear the public comments before the vote.
Van Langvelde did not indicate how he intended to vote, but suggested that he would vote to ratify. “I think we are very restricted today. I think it is our duty to do that,” he said.
While the Board of Directors debated the issue of certification, Van Langvelde indicated that the board had no legal authority to investigate allegations of voter fraud.
The other Republican in the House, Norman Schinkel, is expected to vote no. Michigan Republican Representative Paul Mitchell said that he had spoken a few days ago with Schinkel, who had indicated that he would vote against certifying the election results until the investigation is complete – although there is no evidence of fraud or irregularities that would warrant such a transfer.
Schinkel asked Chris Thomas, who served as a senior advisor to the Detroit clerk and built a decades-long career serving Republican and Democratic foreign ministers in Michigan, under what conditions could the board delay ratification.
“If you have the returns in place, I don’t think you can delay,” Thomas said, and that the only option the board has now is to certify the results. All counties in Michigan have certified their results.
Schinkel rejected Thomas’s characterization that the elections ran smoothly. “The fluidity is not accurate at all,” Schinkel said.
If Van Langvelde joined Shinkle in the vote against certification, a separate 2-2 vote would push the state into uncharted legal territory. On Sunday, Michigan Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield said if there was a 2-2 vote, “the matter will then be referred to the Michigan Supreme Court to determine their response, and what will the matter be.”
Chatfield said during an interview with Fox News: “If they don’t have a sanctioned order, now we have a constitutional crisis in Michigan. It hasn’t happened before.”
If the vote counting board were to vote against validating the results, the case would go to the state appeals court, and then to the state supreme court. The state Supreme Court is expected to ask the board of directors to endorse the results, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, can replace any board member.
The Trump campaign has tried to interfere with the ratification process, and Trump has tried to woo Michigan officials while he and attorney Rudy Giuliani continue to claim without evidence of widespread voter fraud and “rigged elections.”
The Republican National Committee and the Michigan Republican Party sent a letter to the Board of Commissioners on Saturday asking them to postpone certification for 14 days. They also asked them to wait for the election results to be checked in Wayne County, the largest county in the state that includes Detroit – although state law does not allow this.