GOP members of Wayne County Board of Canvassers look to reverse decision again after certifying election results

Posted at 4:22 AM, Nov 19, 2020

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — Two GOP members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers are looking to reverse their decision again after certifying the election results Tuesday evening.

Monica Palmer, chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, and William Hartmann, one of two Republicans on the Board, filed signed affidavits Wednesday night demanding to rescind their "yes" certification votes.

"I fully believe the Wayne County vote should not be verified," Palmer said in an affidavit. "The Wayne County election had serious process flaws which deserve investigation. I continue to ask for information to assure Wayne County voters that these elections were conducted fairly and accurately.”

According to Hartmann in his affidavit, “Late in the evening, I was enticed to agree to certify based on the promise that a full and independent audit would take place. I would not have agreed to the certification but for the promise of an audit.”

The Secretary of State's office said there is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote. The next step in the process is for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify.

After the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers initially caused a deadlock Tuesday, they eventually agreed to certify the county's vote on the condition of an audit. The motion to hold another vote came following hours of public comments condemning Republican canvassers' decisions to vote against the certification.

Both Palmer and Hartmann claim they were pressured into agreeing to certify the results after being subject to harsh comments during the lengthy public hearing.

"This vote was followed by public derision from our two democrat colleagues. I, and Monica Palmer, who also voted against certification, were berated and ridiculed by members of the public and other Board members," Hartman state in the affidavit. "This conduct included specious claims that I was racially motivated in my decision. This public ostracism continued for hours during which time we were not provided an opportunity to break for dinner and were not advised that we could depart and resume the hearing on another date."

The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement:

"Rather than recognizing and apologizing for their conduct as members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann are attempting to reverse their decision again after certifying the election results on Tuesday evening. As we witnessed at the meeting earlier this week, it was abundantly clear that Chair Palmer has absolutely no idea what the role of the canvassing board is and no understanding of what her duties are as the Chair. And though she and Hartmann reversed their initial misguided vote at that meeting, they are now attempting to circumvent the canvassing process in Michigan by signing baseless affidavits that make outrageous claims against their fellow board members and the voters that bravely and boldly participated in the meeting on Tuesday. 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. Certifying all election results for the state is now in the hands of the Michigan Board of Canvassers.

Monica Palmer issued a statement yesterday and in it, claimed "Democrats went off the hinges trying to suggest we wanted to suppress the Black vote, and that was not the case." Racist conduct and acts of racism cannot be excused or denied because the perpetrator of the conduct or act declares that their intent was not racist. Chair Palmer's conduct and comments at the Board of Canvassers' meeting on Tuesday were racist. The fact that she claims now to be unable to understand that is nothing more than further reason for her to remove herself from that body and from public service entirely. The time for silence on these matters is indeed over. If she declines to resign, she should be removed. Ignorance is not an excuse for racist conduct. There is no political courage in the statement she issued, she continues to be misguided by GOP party leadership, and her furtherance of this issue will only invite more outrage."

The first vote tied 2 to 2 along party lines. But just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the board filed a motion and voted to certify the results under the stipulation that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson does a comprehensive audit of the election in the county.

All 83 counties have voted to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election, according to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The Board of State Canvassers is set to meet Monday, Nov. 23 to issue final certification of the total number of votes cast in the general election. The meeting will also be open to the public.

In December, Michigan's 16 electors are expected to cast their votes for Joe Biden who won the popular vote in the Great Lakes State by over 150,000 votes.

View the affidavits below:

Palmer Affidavit by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

Hartmann Affidavit by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd