What’s It Going to Be, Michigan?

This morning I started to write a post about today’s Michigan vote certification. Then I noticed that the Michigan Board of State Canvassers was scheduled to meet at 1 pm, or noon my time. So I thought, I’ll wait to see what they do. Well, it’s mid-afternoon, and I’m still waiting. There’s a live feed of the meeting here, if you want to watch what’s going on.

As I keyboard, the meeting has been going on for nearly three hours. They’re taking a recess.

The canvassing board has four members, two Democrats and two Republicans. The holdup is one of the Republicans, Norm Shinkle; there are reports that he has told people he will refuse to certify in order to hold up the whole process, which might possibly allow the Republican state legislature to void the election and choose Trump electors. Today’s meeting has been turned into a hearing on the election, with witnesses and public comments, and Shinkle has been grilling witnesses, which as I understand it is not something the board is authorized to do.

Here’s a useful article by Elizabeth McElvein at Lawfare that explains the Michigan Board of State Canvassers and what it is supposed to do. It is supposed to certify the vote. It is not authorized to investigate allegations about the election.

The Michigan Supreme Court has held repeatedly that a canvassing board wields purely ministerial powers. A board may, and indeed must, tabulate the votes submitted by the counties, but “it has no power to go behind the returns and recount the votes.” The state Supreme Court has affirmed this principle even in the face of allegations that the “election law of this State was most grossly violated.” So even if Shinkle’s allegations of massive voter fraud were true—and it’s worth repeating that there is no evidence that that’s the case—it seems unlikely that a court would permit the board to cite this as a basis for certification delay, let alone to investigate the allegations.

McElvein goes on to say that under Michigan law the current board meeting may not dissolve until they have processed the returns handed to them and certified the vote. If they fail to certify, they are commiting a felony.

Shinkle reportedly wants to hold up certification pending an audit. However, per state law, an audit can’t be performed until after certification. By all accounts the state already is prepared to audit the vote after certification.

Clara Hendrickson of the Detroit Free Press writes that Shinkle probably won’t get away with voiding the vote.

Legal experts do not expect the courts would fail to order the board to certify the election since Michigan election law is so clear on the board’s legal obligation to do so. If the two Republican members of the State Board of Canvassers fail to certify Michigan’s election results, legal experts expect lawsuits filed in the Michigan Court of Appeals would result in the court ordering the board to certify and expect an order would be upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court.

It’s also possible that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer could replace a board member in order to get the election certified. This is just exhausting.

13 thoughts on “What’s It Going to Be, Michigan?

  1. This is just exhausting.

     Yeah, isn't it! This is just a foretaste of what's to come…wait until they try to extradite Trump to New York.

  2. CHECK!  (as in chess, when your opponent has to defend his king.)

    GSA will begin transition with Biden. Trump is tweeting like it was his idea. The head of the GSA was being called by Democrats in the House to explain her position. It looks to me like GSA contacted Trump after Michigan decided to say Trump's position is indefensible and the GSA won't be a stooge for him. They suggested that to save face, he could go along or they could try to fire and replace the top people at the GSA which would further implicate Trump on his obstruction. (I'm guessing about the communication between GSA and the WH but the timetable of MI deciding and GSA announcing seems not a coincidence.

    It all comes down to GA and the Senate races. Sydney the crackpot was at it this weekend – AFTER being fired by team Trump. She's accusing the GA Republicans of sabotaging Trump. Some MAGAs are saying they will not vote in the runoffs. I'm trying to figure out what that game is.

    •  I'm trying to figure out what that game is.

       Don't devote too much time trying to figure it out. When it comes to understanding the crazies the answer is that there is no answer. Donny doesn't even know what's going on. He's just winging it in an attempt to maintain the illusion that he's got everything under control. And Melania is trying to cope with having to deal with another fucking White House Christmas.

      • The rogue factions vying for power are forming. I read that DeVoss (through one of the groups she funds) has recognized Biden. The theory is that she's more of a Pence fan than a Trump fan because she's a religious kook. If she's not backing Trump's play, who is she trying to advance for 2024? 

        The lawyer Sydney Whatever is a former lawyer for Flynn. She engineered the take-it-back strategy after Flynn pleaded guilty in court. Unlike Rudy, she actually practices law. Is she looking at advancing into the big leagues by making a name with MAGA people even after getting dumped by Trump? 

        Rubio is up for reelection in 2022. His ambitions haven't declined. (Neither has Ted Cruz.) Both of them have hugged Trump so tightly the last four years, either could be charged with sodomy. Trump won't make either his heir – there are a son and daughter in line for the throne first. (Cruz or Rubio can run for Court Jester.) But watching Cruz and Rubio try to sink Trump while courting the MAGA crowd will be the performance of political contortionism without parallel. 

        This is a time without comparison in my lifetime. We've always had ambitious politicians and they've pressed the boundaries of what they could get by the voter. But the voter has changed in the GOP. There's an overwhelming majority that denies science, any and all authority figures, believes any youtube video that confirms their bias. It's open season on the truth and there's no limit in the post-trump era. 

        We've entered the phase where they will be eating their own. There was some unity under the Trump banner but ambitious second-tier wannabe-dictators are going to move. Real conservatives who have a philosophy beyond opposing liberals are going to assert themselves in a time of chaos to try to save the party. It's going to be ugly brutal combat without rules in the arena as the GOP comes apart at the seams.

        BTW, Pelosi (I read) has announced this will be her last term as Speaker. Feinstein will step down from the Judiciary Committee. The dinosaurs are leaving the scene in the Democratic party. We're a long way from winning but we aren't losing.

        • My fantasy is that AOC steps in to replace Pelosi. She will have trained for two terms under the master. A great quote about AOC from Bernie Sanders:

          “There are some politicians who are very good on policy, and there are some politicians who are good communicators, and there are some politicians that have a way about them that relates very well to ordinary people,” says Sanders. “Alexandria has all three of those characteristics.”

          • I just hope that…


            PayGo Pelosi will really go.

            Her replacement is NOT Steny Hoyer or Clyburn.


            I am not enthusiastic for either of them, but my early odds are the corporate lawyer Hakeem Jeffries or Katherine Clark.


  3. I'm thrilled by most of Biden's picks so far. Hopefully he can get the best people past Moscow Mitch.  Jan 5 is a cliff hanger.

    Looking forward to the Hariett Tubman $20 bill. Hopefully Biden can rescue it and get it out, take that, right wingers

  4. Yeah, Barbara, it's exhausting.  Very exhausting.  

    January 20th, 2021, seems like it's going to take years to finally get here.

    But thanks for this post, maha, because YOU made the GSA finally capitulate!

    They're finally releasing the money and clearances for the Biden team to start doing the work necessary to fix what tRUMP and his maladministration have f'ed-up, and what they'll f-up on purpose in the time remaining for them.

    I sincerely hope that the new Biden/Harris administration won't let the tRUMP people retire with their ill-gotten gains.

    They need to be made examples of!  

    Try them!  And if they're guilty: LOCK THEM UP!!!!!

    • Biden's got so much to do to try and get this country back on the rails, plus they cannot afford to alienate people in Congress, we have a thin majority in the House – it will be left to the states – NY – to bring down Trump and his crime family.

      • I emphatically disagree with that reasoning. I think Joe should let the DoJ loose, and tell them they only want those cases they can prove beyond any significant doubt, and only for issues that can't be fobbed off to "policy differences".

        Every Republican President for the past 50 years has been engaged in criminality. If we can't even prosecute the stupidest, most obvious, most blatant and egregious lawbreaker of them all, then what the hell is the point of pretending to have a nation ruled by laws? Why not just hand out a Monopoly "Get Out Of Jail, Free" card to every President on inauguration day?

        There might be steep political costs involved in prosecuting the criminality of the Trump administration, but there are far higher costs incurred by *not* prosecuting it, because if it isn't prosecuted, it becomes the new normal (for Republicans, of course – Democrats will still face unending claims that their behavior is criminal, communist, destructive of America, etc).

  5. Do we now get to a re-alignment between politically correct and factually correct or is it too soon in the transition?  That was pretty close as it came down to believing in counting vs. believing in a convoluted  paranoid conspiracy theory.  I thought they were calling for the release of the Kraken.  Then they released a couple of legal crackpots instead as I suppose Krakens are hard to come by on short notice.  When Rudy started leaking what looked like ink was that his imitation of a giant squid?  If he was the Kraken stand in why did they not attach a few tentacles?  Then a weave involving George Soros and the late Hugo Chavez became the fabric of plausibility.  If they just could have worked in a link to Benghazi they might have scored a perfect trifecta.  So, almost airtight the whole idea just failed to float even to some true believers.  As such, it just could not prevail over counting, which came out a simple as one, two, three. 

    Krugman reminds us today that wells are being poisoned in the money world.  He contends vital tools are being removed from the economic tool box that increase the risk of a financial panic.  So the Coup did not work so now we pull the rug out from under Biden.  Well the plan to smear Biden ended in Trump's impeachment, and we should never forget that Republicans in the House and the Senate were complicit in keeping Trump in office with the exception of Mitt Romney.  They tried to tar and feather Mitt also, but he used his too big to fail card and reminded them he still had it when he was first to come out against the recent coup attempt.  Biden's move to put Yellen at Treasury is a strong one, and indicates he listens to and reads his intelligence briefings.  Oh those enemies both foreign and DOMESTIC.   

    A tease from Krugman: 

    Even so, it’s very unlikely that Trump will manage to overturn the election results. But he’s doing all he can to wreck America on his way out, in ways large and small. Among other things, his officials are already trying to sabotage the economy, setting the stage for a possible financial crisis on Joe Biden’s watch.

    Opinion | Trump Wars II: The Loser Strikes Back – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

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