Michigan's State Board of Canvassers votes to certify election

Michigan's State Board of Canvassers has voted to certify the 2020 General Election

By a vote of 3 to 0 with one GOP-abstained vote, the Board approved Michigan's votes that were counted for the November election, certifying President-elect Joe Biden's 154,000-vote victory in the state. 

It's among the final steps to formalize votes that were tabulated three weeks ago and is another defeat for President Donald Trump in his futile effort to undermine the results of the Nov. 3 election through baseless legal challenges and unsupported claims of fraud.

Allies of Trump and losing GOP Senate candidate John James had urged the panel to delay voting for two weeks to audit votes in heavily Democratic Wayne County, home to Detroit.

"Overall we had an extremely well run and secure election," said Elections Director Jonathan Brater.

There was much consternation over how Monday's board vote would go. After an initial deadlock in Wayne County's votes last week, election officials worried another certification deadlock would come at the state level.

Among the key reasons the election was certified is baked into the language of the process and the purpose of the vote  - that voting to approve was the duty of the board. 

"Are you aware of any legal authority that allows us to review more than those returns as part of the certification process?" Vice-Chair Aaron Van Langevelde asked former state election director Chris Thomas. 

"I am not," Thomas replied. 

Following the vote, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel both released statements. 

"The people of Michigan have spoken," Whitmer said. "President-elect Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th. I also want to thank Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the local clerks across Michigan who made sure this year's election was free, fair and secure, and the voters who turned out in record numbers to make their voices heard. Now, it’s time to put this election behind us and come together as a state to defeat our common enemy: COVID-19.” 

“I commend the members of the Board of State Canvassers for today’s vote to certify our election results," Nessel said. "A record number of citizens turned out to vote in an election that was fair, secure and transparent. It is now the responsibility of every official and leader in this country to ensure that the will of the voters is heard. The Board’s actions today did exactly that in Michigan and I appreciate and respect their courage under these historic circumstances.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report