Michigan Sec of State Slams GOP Officials Refusing to Certify Election Results: Won’t Allow ‘Partisan Attempts to Disenfranchise African-American Voters’

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson smacked down efforts by local Republican officials to block the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s overwhelming victory in Wayne County on Tuesday.

Appearing on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, Benson was reacting to the breaking news that that county’s Board of Canvassers had deadlocked along party lines after two Republicans, in an almost unheard move, refused to validate Biden’s massive 320,000-vote margin of victory. Wayne County is the state’s most-populous county and encompasses the African-American majority city of Detroit.

“How often — does this ever happen?” host Chris Hayes asked of the obstruction tactic. “How unprecedented or weird or anomalous is it for this small board — for the Republican commissioners to say, no, we’re not certifying.”

“Notably, it’s extremely rare,” Benson said. “This a board that performs a ministerial function of certifying the results. They have in every election in years past even just this past August certified for themselves even with significant greater clerical errors. And so, you know, it really is disheartening when you consider that this is obviously a majority black city. The largest jurisdiction in the state of Michigan. And here are two individuals going far beyond their role to invalidate the votes of tens of thousands of African-Americans in the state of Michigan.”

Hayes then pointed out that the two county canvassing board members weren’t acting on their own. He then cited a tweet from the Michigan chair of the Republican Party saying she was “proud” of the actions by the pair. “This seems to be a top to bottom coordinated effort by the Republican party in your state,” he noted.

“Not only that, it’s not true. There were not irregularities or indications of fraud that was discussed today are instead clerical errors, which will go to the Bureau of Investigations, which falls under my office to address and we will,” Benson explained. “There is no indication any votes were wrongly tabulated or any invalid votes existed, or were tabulated. This is really just a clerical issue that will be resolved by the state and nothing more than an attempt to misuse these roles to play partisan politics and cause confusion which, again, is kind of the norm that that we’ve seen throughout this election.”

“We’re still full steam ahead with the certification of the votes in Michigan,” Benson added. “We’re certainly not going to allow any blatant partisan attempts to disenfranchise African-American voters. I and the Bureau of Elections continue to make sure every ballot is counted and voices are heard in every community throughout the state.”

Hayes then followed up to ask if this political stunt took Benson by surprise.

“I was very disappointed, but, sadly, given the partisan rancor, I was not surprised,” she replied. “We have seen multiple attempts to try to disenfranchise and undermine the will of our voters throughout this entire election cycle, particularly after the election since the American people have spoken. We still see these attempts to misinform or confuse citizens about the validity of the results. So this is simply an extension of that and a move in the other side’s playbook to undermine the will of the people. But we’re not going to stand for it. We’re going to ensure that every ballot vote will count and the certification of our results will be an official reflection of the will of the people.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.




Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under: