The Republican National Committee and Michigan Republican Party released a letter Saturday urging the Michigan Board of State Canvassers to delay certification of Michigan’s statewide election results for 14 days and audit Wayne County’s general election results.
The state board is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats and it is scheduled to meet Monday to certify the results.
President Donald Trump lost Michigan to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden by about 154,000 votes. Trump has made unsubstantiated allegations of election irregularities in Detroit.
The letter, written by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who is from Michigan, and Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox, said it supported a request by John James, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, to investigate the county’s results for what it called election “irregularities.” Unofficial results show James lost to Democratic incumbent Gary Peters, but James has not yet conceded.
“To simply gloss over those irregularities now without a thorough audit would only foster feelings of distrust among Michigan’s electorate,” the letter reads. “In light of the already unprecedented nature of this election — conducted largely by mail in the midst of an ongoing pandemic — it would be a grievous dereliction of this Board’s duty to the people of Michigan not to ensure that the irregularities identified by the James campaign are thoroughly investigated by a full audit before certifying Wayne County’s results.”
The alleged irregularities claimed by Trump, even if true, would not overturn the results in the state. Election law experts have said the board is required to certify the results. Civil rights leaders have said the delay in certifying the results would disenfranchise mostly minority voters.
The staff of the state board released a report Friday recommending certification of the vote and saying Detroit experienced fewer problems in the Nov. 3 general election than the August primary and the 2016 presidential election.
“As in past elections, some jurisdictions made errors in reporting unofficial results,” the report said. “These errors are all attributable to human error in the operation of tools used to report unofficial results, did not affect the actual tabulation of votes, and were identified and corrected.”
The letter from the GOP said Republicans would not trust the election results and referred to other states such as Georgia that have ordered a full, statewide audit by hand.
“(Georgia Secretary of State Brad) Raffensperger noted that though he thought it was very unlikely that (a) recount would overturn the state’s election results, there was no reason to hurry certification along without first ensuring that all reported procedural irregularities were fully examined,” the letter states.
Nisa Khan is a data and Freep Now intern for the Detroit Free Press. Contact her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @mnisakhan. Freep writers Paul Egan and Niraj Warikoo contributed to this report.