by Scott McClallen
A day after they certified Nov. 3 election results, Republican Wayne County Canvassers Monica Palmer and William Hartmann attempted to rescind their “yes” votes, citing harassment and threats to themselves and their families.
The Republicans originally deadlocked the certification vote 2-2 along party lines, causing an ugly uproar over hours of public comment. Wayne County residents and others doxxed – researched and published private information, usually with malicious intent – the two and their families.
Rep.-elect Abraham Aiyash, D-Detroit, divulged which city Palmer lived in and where her children might attend school.
Others threatened to contact their career supervisors and demand they be fired, a broader product of “cancel culture.”
On Hartmann’s Facebook page, people called him racist and a pedophile.
The two reversed their vote contingent upon Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson completing a “comprehensive audit” of the election.
Their concern stemmed from a discrepancy in which 70% of Detroit’s 134 absentee ballot poll books for its counting board were out of balance without explanation – meaning that the number of voters who signed into polling places didn’t align with the number of ballots at that place.
Both Hartmann and Palmer said they now believe the state won’t complete the audit.
The Detroit Free Press and Associated Press reported that President Donald Trump called Hartman on Tuesday night but didn’t divulge what they discussed.
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement: “It is clear that Palmer and Hartmann are simply kowtowing to the GOP party leadership. There is no legal basis to their claims nor does there exist a path for them to ‘take back’ their vote.”
It’s unclear why the Republicans believed they could rescind the vote.
Benson’s Press Secretary Aneta Kiersnowski told The Center Square, “there is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote,” Kiersnowski wrote in an email. “Their job is done and the next step in the process is for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify.”
In a Thursday statement, Benson said they are “on track” to complete the planned statewide risk-limiting audit of November’s general election.
Benson said the statewide audit and routine local performance audit will take place according to state law after the Board of State Canvassers has certified the election so election officials have access to required documents.
That includes an audit in Wayne County, Benson said, “and any other local jurisdictions where the data shows significant clerical errors following state certification of the November election.”
“Notably, audits are neither designed to address nor performed in response to false or mythical allegations of ‘irregularities’ that have no basis in fact,” Benson continued. “Where evidence exists of actual fraud or wrongdoing, it should be submitted in writing to the Bureau of Elections, which refers all credible allegations to the Attorney General’s office for further investigation.”
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, denounced the reported threats to election officials.
“The integrity of our elections should be a priority for every citizen, but individuals that resort to insults, intimidation, or threats against any citizen are an affront to democracy and their methods have no place in our process,” Shirkey said in a statement.
“The men and women who perform duties as part of county and state boards of canvassers should never fear for their safety or the safety of their loved ones. There have been disturbing reports of individuals who allegedly threatened the children of members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers. Those reports and others should immediately be investigated by law enforcement and Attorney General [Dana] Nessel should ensure these investigations are initiated quickly and earnestly.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Vote Here Sign” by Lorie Shaull. CC BY-SA 2.0.